A METHOD AND INSTRUCTIONS for the Art of Divine Meditation, WITH Instances of the several Kindes of Solemne MEDITATION.

By Thomas White, late Minister of Gods Word in London.

The second Edition.

London, Printed for Tho. Park­hurst, and are to be sold at his Shop at the Bible and three Crowns at the lower end of Cheapside near Mer­cers Chappel, 1672.

ERRATA.

PAge 1. Line the last Read made. p. 4 l. 25. r. might be. p. 8. l. 14. and 17. r. bles­sednesses. l. 26. r. but blessed. p. 9. l. 15. r. them. l. 16. r. they. p 17. l. 5. r. one's, p. 23. l. 11. r. Obj. p. 26. l. 4. r. of Christ. p. 31 l. 3. r. straining. p. 33. l. 11. r. to be. l. 15. r. body of, p. 38 l. 20. r. he. p 52 l. 6. r. to our l. 12. r. receipt. p. 54. l. 20. r. this. p. 57. l. 10 r. such a street. p 69. l. 12. r. inability p. 73. l 10 r. too: p. 74. l. 4. blot out every day. l. 13. blot out of. p. 77. l. 15 r. as I have. l. 17 r. in. p. 78. l. 16. r. affections. p. 80 l. 21. r. matter. p. 85. l. 2. blot out not. p. 89. l,. 4: r. subject. p. 91. l 7. r out of doubt. p98. l. 3. blot out grace p. 100. l. 23. r. by my. p. 102. l. 1. r. strange. p. 106. l. 14. blot out hath p 110. l. 6. r. heart p. 112. l 13, r, heart, p, 113, l, 22, r. is it. p. 114. l, 11, r. Is I, p, 123, l, 23, r, God, p, 137, l, 19, r, she, p, 147, l, 12, blot out not, p, 148, l, 24, r, It is not, p, 192 blot out no. p, 228, l, 18, blot out me, p, 232, l, 19, r. here, p, 271, l, 17, r, tell, p, 274, l. 20, r, thou who p. 275, for to, r, we should, p, 282, l, 7, r world, p, 292, l, 19 r, soul, p, 299 l, 15, r, world, p, 4, of the conclu­sion l, 7, r, though, p, 5 l, 18, r, for this.

THE PREFACE TO THE READER.

Christian Reader,

O ƲR Active Souls can no more for­bear to think, then the Eye can chuse but see when it is Open; and we being accoun­table [Page] to God for thoughts (he being the searcher and judge of them) it would be our wis­dom and security to improve all means for the Spirituallizing of them. 'Tis charged upon no less penalty then damnation, for Jerusalem to purge her self from vain thoughts.

The Meditating Mind is the beginner of all Goodness. On the Sinners part, it is the Rise of his Returning unto God, Ezek. 18. 28. In Saints, and Persons Converted, it is the way to a Progressive Con­version, and Renewing Re­pentance, Psal. 119. 59. I considered my wayes and [Page] turned; the more considera­tion, the more conversion; Mens bold and eager pursuite in Sin, is greatly from want of consideration, Jer. 8. 6. Even in a Nation when God in­tends to work Great Return­ings, he stirs up great bethink­ings, 1 King. 8. 47. If they shall bethink themselves. He minds them of considering to bring them to returning. In Nature Rational, the first Mo­ver is the Mind by conside­ration; In Grace, the first mover is the Mind, by Medi­tation, Luke 15. 17. And when the Soul is returned to God, Oh how sweet are the Me­ditations of him! The sweet­ness [Page] thereof is better felt then exprest; thereby the Christian doth improve his knowledge, quicken his affections, and ex­cite practice.

He that hath the Grace and skill to be alwayes communing with God, or his own Heart, will never want Work or Com­pany, never need he complain of Solitariness, or tedious Hours, for there is no time wherein there is not some great business to be done between God and him.

Apious heart by meditati­on is least alone, when most a­lone; his God with him, and he with God, are good company. [Page] He is doing the most and best business when he is imployed with his God about his own and other mens Soules.

It was the great Design of the Reverend and holy Author Mr. Tho. White, at first in publishing this small Trea­tise, to help Christians for­ward in this so advantagious and heavenly Duty. A few Pages of Manuscript are inserted which he left behind him for that purpose, if it came to be re-printed.

All that knew the Author, honoured and loved him. He was a Burning and Shining Light; he was too Bright [Page] a Star to shine longer in the Terrestrial World; God made use of him to turn many unto Righteousnesse, and now he is gone to Shine in the Kingdome of his Fa­ther.

Reader, If thou beest un­skilful in the Duty of Medita­tion, here thou mayest be di­rected; If thou beest back­ward in Performance, here thou may'st be quickned; The Instances here given ar­gue such a holy Heart in him that used them, that it will be much thy own fault if they doe not make thy Heart who perusest them, [Page] if it be bad, good, and if it be good, better: that it may doe so, shall be the prayers of

R. A.

A METHOD OR INSTRUCTIONS for the Art of Divine Meditation.

Psal. 1, 2;‘But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in his Law, he doth meditate day and night.’

CHAP. I. An Introduction to the fol­lowing Discourse.

A Book wherein the Lives of the most Eminent Saints were written, would be the delight of Saints to read. Yet to read of the wonder­ful discoveries God hath mad of [Page 2] himself to dying Saints; to hear the wonderful things that such Souls filled with extasies of Love and Joy, do speak, is sweet as the honey and the honey combe; it seemes to realize Heaven unto us.

To hear a dying Saint just as en­tring into Heaven saying blessed be God I am arrived safe to glory: The gates of Heaven stand wide open for me, and Christ stands with stretched out Arms to receive me, blessed be God for free Grace, bles­sed be God for Jesus Christ.

To hear another ás he was on his sick bed expounding Rom. 8. he stopped and Mr. Holland. said, what light is this I see? They about him said it is the Sunshine, nay said he it is my Saviours shine. I doubt not but you all see this Light; but I feel a light within me which no one of you all can know, and turning himself to the Minister that Preached his Funeral Sermon, he [Page 3] said this night I dye, and speak this from me, I speak it confidently that God dealeth familiarly with man, I feel his Mercy, I see his Majesty, Whether in the body or out of the bo­dy, I cannot tell, God he kn [...]weth; I see things that are unut­terable, and with many [...]h like speeches he ended his life▪ So it is no less delightful to he [...] the ra­vishing speeches of Martyrs crying out with clapping of hands saying, O you Papists, you talk of Miracles here is a Miracle, I feel no more pain in the midst of these torm [...]nts then if I was upon a bed of Ro­ses.

Another though in desertion to that very time, yet when come to the Stake, he cryed out, O he is come, he is come whom my soul loved.

Yet to have an opportunity to hear one of the [...] Saint; in the World in their s [...]ret addres­ses unto God, is not less desireable [Page 4] then the former, when Saints pray with others they refrain from seve­ral expressions, for fear of scandal, either of pride, or hypocrisie: There is that [...] that liberty of speech in secret, which is not lawful if possible to be uttered, except by a Soul in secret, when no one hear­eth but God alone. To hear a poor soul in desertion bemoaning it self like Ephraim, to hear it fetch such sighs and groans for one glympse of Gods smiling countenance, such sighs and groanes I say as never any one yet heard the sorrowfullest in the world fetch for the loss of a dying, or new dead friend, or child, or Husband: nay such groanes as never any in the agonies of death, or in the midst of the greatest torments ever fetched: O how you would be affected to hear such sighs and such groanes as some of the people of God fetch, and such sighs they have, Rom. 8. 26. they might and were actually expressed, if indulgent [Page 5] Parents had them when they dyed, or men in torment had any equal to them. But the Holy Ghost saith that he helpeth the infirmities of his people with sighs and groanes that cannot be expressed. To hear a man sigh as if his heart would break be­cause he could not enjoy the ordi­nances of God, Oh how would it make one say, alass alass! I was ne­ver thus affected because I could not enjoy the Ordinances of God

1. Oh how would it have aff [...]cted you could you have heard David in his secret addresses unto God; See how affectionately he speaketh in the 119. Psalm and the 20th verse, My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy Judgment at all times. This was no strain of Rheto­rick, David would not lye to the holy Ghost, and tel God his heart was ready to break if it was not, for he well knew God knew his heart; nay for this to be constant [Page 6] when ever he thought of such things, then for his very soul to break gives a sufficient testimony to the truth of what I have asserted: Doubtless hypocrites cannot in their actings of love or joy, come up to the real affections of some of Gods people; I say therefore to hear the expressions of Gods peo­ple, in their secret addresses unto God, their love-sick pangs in their extasies of joy, were worth our hear­ing, for they would wonderfully affect This very thing is done in the book of Psalms, where we have David writing his secret devotions, for a­bundance of the Psalms are Davids secret addresses unto God upon se­verall occasions, as by the titles of several of his Psalms doth appear.

CHAP. 2. A short explanation of the words to­gether with some short Observati­ons upon the same.

BEcause the first Verse is part of the description of the blessed man, and an Introductory also to the following words, I shall speak some­thing to them. The words of the first verse are far more emphatical then they are rendred in our En­glish Translarion: For indeed our English Dialect will not bear to be translated exactly according to the Hebrew; but as near as it can be take it thus: O blessed is the man, or he man, (i. e. whoever he be rich or poor, noble or ignoble) that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornfu: But his will is in the Law of the Lord, or of Jehovah, and in [Page 8] his Law he doth meditate in the day and by the night. Give me leave to gather up the Pearles that lye in the way to the Text.

Let me a little consider the great­ness and excellency of the righteous mans blessedness.

He is blessed.

2. He is blessedness, made up o' blessedness, blessed in his body blessed in his soul, blessed in health, blessed in sickness, blessed in eve­ry state and condition.

3. He is blessedness, blessed in the highest degree: For the plu­ral number is sometimes put for the Superlative, or else blessedness sig­nifieth all manner of blessednesses, temporal, spiritual, and eternal; if riches be a blessing, he shall have them; if poverty be a blessing, he shall have that; for sometimes pover­ty is a blessing, sometimes riches: whatsoever is a blessing he shall have

4. A Saint is not only bles­sed, blessed even to admira­tion. [Page 9] It is brought in here with an interjection, or note of admirati­on. O! blessedness is the man.

5. Saints admire the Saints blessed­ness, and it is no small matter will make the Saints admire. The glory and happiness of the world, they de­spise, which the men of the world admire at, and they despise the happiness of the Saints.

6. See the goodness of God, he gives the Saints happiness beyond their understanding. f God should send the Saints a book as large as Heaven, and bid us write down what we would have, we should be losers by the bargain, for the hap­piness and blessedness of Saints put­teth the Saints to a stand, and makes them silent, for admiration is, Si­lentium intellectus. When the un­derstanding perceiveth that there is more in the object then it is able to comprehend, it leaves off making notions of the subject, it then falleth to admiring of it. The Platonists say of God that he is [...] [Page 10] visibile, invisible, by reason of his excellency and abundance of light God may be praised well by many words but better by few, and best of all by none, but by silence, admi­ration and extasies of love and inde­fatigable desire after everlasting en­joyments of him, So I say of the blessedness of Saints, surely as A­dam in his best estate was altoge­ther vanity, Psal. 39. So the Saint the man, whosoever he be, is in his lowest condition altogether blessed: I shall pass by the gradation of the words, as walk, stand, sit, counsel, way, seat, wicked, sinner, scornful, though one may observe by the way, one groweth wicked by degrees, but I forbear: yet this I shall observe from the coherence of these words with the former, viz. That negative divinity damneth thousands (is is Luthers expression) though we must first cease to do e­vil; before we can do good, yet it is not enough so cease to do evil but [Page 11] we must also do good, for as sins of commission poyson the soul, so sins of omission starve the soul. From that his will is in the law of Jehovah, we may observe, that we should have no will of our own, the Law of God should be our will, if you would know the will of a Saint, you may find it in Gods Law, Saints will is the transcript of the Law written by the finger of God, Jer. 31. 33. I will put my Law in their inward parts saith God, and write in their hearts, if any would know what a Saint will do in such or such a case, you need not go to ask him, but see what God commandeth, he willeth nothing but what God commandeth, and whatsoever God commandeth is his will.

Further, we may observe, that it is not enough to do holy duties, but we must love holy duties, for the blessed man doth not only keep to the utmost of his power, the [Page 12] Law, but delights in the Law, the Commandments are not grievous but delightful to him. A wicked man though he may pray, yet he loveth it not, a Saint would not for all the world that God should say to him, you shall think so oft of me in a day; it would be a great trouble to a Saint that God should forbid, as it is to a wicked man that God commandeth him to think often. But passing by these I shall choose this observation as the foundation of the following dis­course, viz. that to meditate upon the word of God, is the essential character and indispensible duty and constant practice of every one that is a true blessed man; and that this meditation on Scripture may be the easier understood and practised, I shall proceed as follow­eth.

CHAP. III. Of the nature, kinds, and dif­ferences, of solemn, divine meditation.

SOmething seemeth necessary to be premised concerning the na­ture of Meditation, what it is, and how it differeth from other acts of the understanding that seem like it, and how one kind of medi­tation differeth from another, else this treatise will be defective with­out it.

First, For the nature or defini­tion of Divine Meditation we may say, that it is a serious solemn think­ing and considering of the things of God, to the end we might un­derstand how much they concern us, and that our hearts thereby may be raised to some holy affecti­ons and resolutions.

[Page 14] Secondly, Solemn Divine Medi­tation differeth from occasional meditation.

1. In that occasional meditati­ons are shorter, like ejaculatory prayers which though they are as parenthesis in our worldly employ­ments, yet they signifie more then all the rest of the business we are employed in, but meditation is ge­nerally of longer duration then or­dinary solemn prayers.

2. Such occasional meditations are things that we have in transitu, or by the by; and this that I speak of is a solem set duty.

Thirdly, The subject from which occasional meditations arise are ve­ry frequently things artificial, ci­vil or natural, indeed any thing that we see or hear but the subject of solemn meditation, are only things spiritual.

Thirdly, Solemn Divine Medi­tation differeth from study.

[Page 15] 1. In respect of the subject, wicked men: Study and Godly men meditate, and it may be the former, study more then the god­ly. Nay it is the very distinguish­ing Sign between Saints and others. that they meditate in the Law of God day and night, Psal. 1. 2. And I believe it is a thing far more rare for a meditating Christian to be an hypocrite, then for a Christan that spendeth much in prayer, especi­cially if it be publick.

2. In respect of the Subject of study; so solemn meditation differ­eth from it, for

1. Study is of all manner of things whether natural, civil, or artificial, or mathematical, &c. But meditation is only of matters that concern our eternal wel­fare.

2. The matters that are most knotty and difficult, and generally such as afford little spiritual nou­rishment, as Criticisms, Crenolo­gies, [Page 16] and controversies: but the matter of meditation is of things plain, and of great spiritual advantage.

3. Thirdly, The end of Study is knowledge, but the end of me­ditation is holiness. If one seeth a learned man we may conclude that he hath been a great student; and if we see a godly man, we may con­clude that that man hath medita­ted much.

Fourthly, Solemn meditation differeth from contemplation in these several particulars, as

1. Contemplation is more like the beatificial vision which the Angels have of God in Heaven. Mediation is like the kindling of fire and contemplation more like a fire when fully kindled; the one is like the Spouse seeking of Christ and the other is like the Spouse enjoying of Christ

[Page 17] 2. Contemplation is one effect and end of meditation.

3. Meditation is like the Bees flying to several flowers, or like one, smelling to Flowers particu­larly, and contemplation is like the smelling of them alltogether in a nosegay, or like the water that is distilled from them all. The Spouse in her description of Christ is like to meditation, her conclu­ding that he is altogether lovely is like to contemplation.

Now there are four kinds of so­lemn meditation according to the four several subjects of it.

1. Some solemn Meditations are upon Sermons that we hear, which is a very useful and necessary practise for Christians, and it is better to hear one Sermon only and meditate on that, then to hear two Sermons and meditate on neither: neither is it necessary nor possible to set down a method for [Page 18] meditating on Sermons, since th method of Sermons is so various, I shall only say thus much in particu­lar, that the end of such meditati­on is neither only, nor chiefly that we may the better fix the heads and substance of the Sermon in our heads, not that we may the better understand, and be fuller instructed of the truth of the point we heard preached upon, but espe­cially to work those truths, advices & motives upon our affections, that are proposed to us in the Sermon.

2. The second kind of solemn meditation, is, when upon some providential occasion, or upon some spiritual distemper, or temp­tation, or almost any thing of that nature, we retire our selves and powre out our soules in prayers and soliloquies, which may not but in a very large sense be called prayers, being mixt of such various and differing parts, sometimes speaking to God and telling him how we [Page 19] stand affected to him, and his ordinances, sometimes speaking to our own soul, chiding encouraging or instructing of it, sometimes spea­king to our selves what we resolve to do, what we intend to say unto God; all which you may find in the 42. Psalm, and many more of that nature both in that and many other Psalms which may not properly be called prayers, but solemn occasional meditations, and the occasions of those meditations are often set down in the begining of the Psalm, and they differ from those occasional meditations (of which I spoke in the begining of this Chaper) only in their dura­tion and solemnity just as solemn prayers differ from jaculatory pray­ers, and to set down any method for these is not convenient, because they observe no method, and differ very little in any thing else from that kind of meditation for which directions are set down in this Treatise.

[Page 20] 3. The next kind of meditation is upon some practical truths of Religion: many directions for which and instances of the same are set down in this Treatise.

4. The fourth and last kind of solemn meditation is that which is upon Scripture, which shall be the subject of the fourteenth, fif­teenth, and sixteenth Chapters of this Treatise.

CHAP. IV. That solemn Meditation is a du­ty.

THat this is a duty is evident,

1. From the practice of Gods People, Gen. 24. 63. That this was a solemn Meditation is evident, be­cause he went out into the field to perform it, and had no other busi­ness there but this; 'Tis not said [Page 21] when he was in the field he medi­tated, as if it were occasiona but to shew that it was a set duty, 'tis said that he went out to medi­tate.

2. 'Tis commanded Josh. 1. 8 and this duty of meditation is set down as a chief means to be sanctified of God for the keeping of the Law.

3. It is as a Characteristical dif­ference between a wicked man and a Saint.

4. To consider, in Scripture, and to meditate, are Synonima's, and the necessity of it appears in this, because that the cause of sin is the want of consideration and not want of knowledge, Isa. 1. 3. and 'tis not much for us to hear Ser­mons, nay, though we be never­so attentive, it will not serve the turn, Psal. 41. 12. It is more then to know, for who is there almost in the world that knows not that he must dye, but few are there that consider it? Deut. 32. 29.

[Page 22] 5. The necessity of Meditation appeares in this, that no man is converted without Meditation, for every one that is converted the method is this.

1. He heares the truths of God.

2. He is convinced of them.

3. He considers and meditates upon them, and sees how much they concern him.

4. He is affected with them.

5. Being thus affected it rai­seth holy resolutions of better obe­dience.

But it will be objected, alass, I am not book learned, how shall I perform this duty of Meditation? This is rather for Ministers, &c,

Ans. 1. I may say of Medita­tion as 'tis said of the Mathema­ticks, he that is a rational man, and doth but improve his reason, though he hath neither tongues nor art to help him, may understand & grow to an extraordinary excellency in those Arts; So he that hath grace, [Page 23] if he doe but exercise and improve it, though he hath not learning, will excell the learnedest man in the world that hath not grace in the duty of Meditation 'tis not learning but devotion that enables a man to this duty.

2. Can a man be a blessed man without Learning? then he may meditate without it, Psal. 12.

Obs. But 'tis a very hard du­ty.

Ans. 1. That shews it to be an excellent duty, for the harder any duty is, the more excellent; the hardness consists in this, that 'tis contrary to our corruptions and the more contrary any thing is to that which is bad, 'tis so much the better.

2. Can you expect any duty should be easie at first? Is there any thing so of temporal things which are of any excellency, as Writing, playing on a Lute, &c.

[Page 24] 3. Because 'tis so powerful to mor­tifie corruptions; sweet things nourish, and bitter things purge: therefore if you will only perform those duties that are delightful, they will nourish not purge out corruption.

4. Get but your hearts inflamed with the love of God, then this duty will not only be easie and delightful, but it will be a duty that you cannot tell almost how to avoid; for it is as hard not to think of what one loves as to think of what one hates; bid the cove­tous man not think of his money, or bid him think of the things of God, and he will find an equal difficulty in both. Indeed the love of God and desire of heavenly things are got by meditation, but when once our hearts are enflamed by Meditation then our Mediat­tions are enflamed by love: As an Oven is first heated by fewel, and [Page 25] then it sets the fewel on fire, and as with the fewel you must put in fire and blow it, but afterwards it kindleth of it self, so the difficulty of Meditation is at first: When there is but as it were a spark of love in the heart, it will cost him some pains by meditation to blow it up to a flame, but afterwards the heart will be so heated with these flames of love, that it will so inflame all the thoughts, that it will make us not only easily but necessarily to meditate on the things of God.

5. The people of God generally have found a great deal of difficul­ty in praying without a form at first. Many godly Ministers used a set Form of Prayer before their Sermons not many years since and when they and priva [...] Christians came to pray at first without a Form, they found a strangeness and an unreadiness thereunto; So it is in Meditation, Christians being [Page 26] not used to it, it will seem a strange and difficult work unto them, but I may say of it, as is said of the yoke Christ, Gravè cum tollis, suave cum tuleris, thou wilt find it very delightful, or at least very profi­table.

Ob. But if it be such a necessary duty, how comes it to pass that it hath been so generally neglected by the people of God.

Ans. It hath been practised by the people of God both in Scripture as is proved, (and it is evident that the Psalmes of David are frequent­ly nothing but Meditations, though not in this Method) and by many in our dayes.

2. It being a private Closet-du­ty, the omission nor performance of it could be taken notice of, and so the omission of it could not be reproved, nor performance obser­ved.

3. The Directions and Instru­ctions for Meditation have been [Page 27] generally very abstruse and intri­cate.

CHAP. V. Preparatory Directions for the Cir­cumstances of solemn Meditation.

1. FOR the place, that must be private, remote from compa­ny and noise; Isaac went into the fields, our Saviour into a Garden, and David wisheth us to enter into our chamber, and be still, Psal. 4. 4. and our Saviour bids us enter into our Closet, and shut the door, the place must be such as must be re­mote from noise and company, or any thing which might distract us in the duty; and such a place that we may not be interrupted or for­ced to break off, before the duty be ended, it must be also private and remote from the observation of others, so that we may neither be he heard nor seen, because there [Page 28] are divers gestures and expressions, which are not convenient for any one but God and ones own soul to be privy to: Which of those places you find to be most advantagious to you in the matters of Meditation you may choose.

2. For the time when; The best is in the morning. 1. Because it is the first-fruits of the day, and the first-fruits being holy, all the rest are fanctified. 2. Because our thoughts being then not soyled with worldly business, will not be so subject to be distracted. 3. Because the body it self is more serene then after Meals, and this Duty needs an empty stomack, not only because the head will be more clear and fit for Meditation, but also because many passages of Me­ditation require so much intention of the mind and fervency of affe­ction that they do hinder Digesti­on. 4. Because that it being in the morning will have an influence [Page 29] upon the whole day, but this is not an Universal Rule; for we read that Isaac went forth in the Even­ing to Meditate, Gen. 24. 36. and in case the subject of your Medi­tation be a Sermon, then it may be the best time is, immediately after the hearing of it before your affe­ctions cool, or your memory fail you.

2. For the how long, consider­ing the parts of Meditation are so many, viz. Preparation, Consi­derations, Affections, Resolutions, &c. and none of them are to be past slightly over, for Affections are not so quickly raised, nor are we to cease blowing the fire as soon as ever it beginneth to flame, until it be well kindled, half an hour may be thought to be the least for beginners, and an hour for those that are versed in this Duty; But there are two Rules in this Par­ticular especially to be observed. 1. That as we ought not to leave [Page 30] off our prayers before that temper and frame of heart is wrought, which is suitable to the matter of our prayers, viz. we should not leave off the confession of sin till our hearts are made sensible of and humble for our sins, nor should we leave off our praises until our hearts are filled with holy admirings and adorings of God, and inflamed with his love; So the end of Me­ditation being affections and reso­lutions, we should not leave off until those are wrought. 2. As in private Prayer, so long as we finde our hearts enlarged by the pourings of the Spirit of Supplication upon us, we are not to leave off unless by our continuance in that duty we must omit another duty to which we were more particularly obliged at that time; So in medi­tation as long as we find the heart affected we are to continue it: But this Caution must be given, that in such enlargements we must not [Page 31] continue them longer general [...]y then while they come freely and without much straing and compul­sion, for that hony that comes free­ly of it self from the Comb is pure, but that which is forced by heat and pressure is not so well relished, but this Caution is for extraordi­nary enlargements, for if the heart be dead, we must use all means to awaken it; But as fire must be blown till it be well kindled, but afterwards blowing hinders the boyling of any thing that is set over it; So when once our hearts are inflamed and enlarged with holy affections in an extraordinary man­ner, 'tis but a hindrance of our af­fections to return to the Meditati­on of those Points that raised them.

CHAP. VI. Rules for the Subject, of Solemn Meditation.

1. BY no means let it be Contro­versie, for that will turn Me­ditation into Study.

2. Nor nice Speculations, for they be sapless, without nourishment: Besides being so light they float in the brain, having no weight to sink them down into the heart, and indeed were they there, they have nothing in them to affect the heart withall.

3. Let the Subject of Medita­tion be the plainest, powerfullest, and usefullest Truths of God, as Death, Hell, Heaven, Judgement, Mercies of God, our own sins, the Love and Sufferings of Christ, &c.

4. Let the Subject of your Meditation be that, that is most [Page 33] suitable to your Spiritual wants; as in time of desertion, meditate most of the love and mercies of God, &c.

Rules for meditation it self, they are of three sorts. 1. Preparatory. 2. For the body of the Duty. 3. For the Conclusion.

Two things by way of prepara­tion, besides the choice of the Sub­ject, the first is, be convinced of, and to be affected with the presence of God: The second is, Prayer for assistance from God. 2. For the body Meditation it self, It consists of three parts: The first I call Consideration, which is nothing but the convincing our hearts of several Truths that do belong to that Subject whereof we Meditate: As if the Subject of our Meditation be Death, the Considerations may go thus, Alas O my Soul, how, and when, and where we shall die we know not, generally men [Page 34] die sooner then they expect, and certain it is, whensoever that hour comes, we must bid adieu to honors, pleasures, riches, friends, and at last our own bodies, &c. The se­cond part is affections, whether it be love of God or Christ, or spiri­tual things, despising of the world, admiring of God or any other spi­ritual affection: The third part are Resolutions to do this or that, or leave this or that; Now this is the most proper and genuine way of Meditation appears by this. 1. Be­cause it is not artificial and such as requires Learning, as those Dire­ctions are which wish us to consi­der the efficient, final, formal, ma­terial cause of death, the adjuncts concomitants, &c. which though they may somewhat help the learn­ed, yet such hard words and arti­ficial methods fright the ignorant: [...]. This is the very method of those Meditations by which every one that is brought home to God [Page 35] is converted; For the first thing in conversion is our being convinced of some Truths, which conviction raiseth affections, for if the truths of God end in conviction, and go no no further, nay, if they end in affections only, and never come to resolutions of shunning evil and do­ing good, conversion can never be perfected, as for example, One is convinced that he is a miserable undone wretch by reason of Origi­nal and Actual abomination, Upon this conviction fear and sorrow are raised yet if these do not work in us a firm resolution of leaving those sins, we are yet in our sins and un­converted. 3. There are several things for the concluding of Medi­tation, as shall appear.

CHAP. VII. Directions for the working of our hearts to be convinced of, and affe­cted with the presence of God.

FOR being convinced of and af­fected with the presence of God, it may thus be wrought.

1. We are to consider that God is present every where, as truly, really, and essentially, as he is in Heaven; For God did not create Heaven to continue still but to ma­nifest his presence, for the Heaven of Heavens are not able to contain him, for God is neither included by, nor excluded from any place, and though Jacob saith, Surely the Lord was in this place, and I knew it not, Gen. 28. 16. yet we must not imagine that Jacob was igno­rant of that Truth, but did not a­ctually consider it; but David in the 139 Psalm is clear in explain­ing [Page 37] and clearing up the omnipre­sence of God. 2. We must consi­der that God doth more peculiarly observe his people, while they are performing of heavenly duties, whe­ther it be, while they are speaking unto him, or he speaking unto them, he doth then more especial­ly observe the motion and frame of their hearts, as when we are in any company we do more especially look upon and observe those to whom we speak, or who speak to us; yet this is to be understood not as if God did observe us more at one time then another, in respect of Gods knowledge it self; but thus, that God is much more offended with us, if our carriage and frame of heart be more irreverent, and unholy in the time of prayer and Meditation, then at such times as we are in the works of our parti­cular calling.

3. We may consider with our selves that Christ doth actually be­hold [Page 37] us, especially in these duties of holiness, for it is not the distance of place that doth hinder Christs knowledge and exact observing of us. Little did Nathanael then think that Christ saw him under the Fig-tree; Nathonael did not see Christ, nor was he corporally present then, yet Christ beheld Nathanael when he prayed; so Christ beheld Stephen before the heavens were opened, and the opening of the heavens was not that that thereby Christ might be ena­bled the better to behold Stephen, but that Stephen might thereby be the better enabled to see that Christ looked on him; without all controversie God knows and ob­serves with what reverence, faith, love, &c. we pray, for else our prayers would be in vain, and our faith also vain, for how could he give us according to our faith if he knew not how much our faith were? If the inward frame of our [Page 38] hearts were not observed by him, then an hypocrite that hath better expressions should get more by his prayers, then a true Nathanael that hath a better heart.

4. Suppose that thou hadst lived in Christs time, or suppose that Christ were now in England, con­sider with what joy, reverence, and confidence thou wouldest go to him for the pardon of thy sins, or for any other mercy thou stood­est in need of; Thou maist go so to him now, his distance from thee in respect of corporal presence doth not make him less able to know thy wants, or hear thy pray­ers, nor his being now glorified makes him less willing to grant them then if it were bodily present in the room with thee in the form of a servant, as he was once at Je­rusalem: the glory of Christ doth not hinder his love and goodness, for Christ is the express Image of his Father, and Gods Attributes [Page 40] do not not hinder one another; The Majesty of God doth not set bounds unto his goodness, and make that finite, nor doth his goodness make his Majesty less glorious, his good­ness makes his Majesty more ami­able, and his Majesty makes his goodness more wonderful; So nei­ther doth the exaltation of Christ cause him to abate any thing of his goodness unto his people, but if any way his Love be al­tered, it is by being made more then it was, and when Christ was upon earth, you must have come to him by Faith, or you could obtain no mercy from him, and by faith though he be in hea­ven you may obtain any mercy now: You may consider any one or two or more of these considera­tions, until your heart be so con­vinced of and affected with the presence of God, that you may thereby be the better fitted for [Page 41] the carrying on the duty of Medi­tation more effectually.

CHAP. VIII. Concerning the Preparatory Prayer that is to be used before Meditation:

THE next Preparatory consi­deration is Prayer, and it is to be performed in these words, or to like purpose: Lord, my de­sign in this Duty of Meditation is not to be an hour sequestred from Worldly Employments, for that were to be idle an Hour, and to encrease my Sinnes not my Graces, but my Business at this time is to be so convinced and af­fected with those spiritual Truths revealed in thy Word, that I may fully resolve by thy strenghth and power to reform my Life, because I can neither understand the things that belong to my peace, nor [Page 42] understanding them, be convinced of the certainty and truth of them; Nay Lord, though my understand­ing be enlightned, yet without thee mine affections cannot be enflamed; I can neither know, resolve, nor perform what is good without thee, for from thee comes both the will and the deed of thy good pleasure, I beseech thee Lord that thou wouldest give me thy grace to make conscience of performing this duty with my whole strength, and not carelesly and perfunctorily; And Lord do thou enlighten me with and convince me of thy Truths, and so affect my heart with the love of holiness and hatred of sin, &c. that I may thereby be enabled fully, firmly (notwithstanding all the opposition that the flesh, world, or devil can make) to run the wayes of thy Commandements with joy and with speed, and when thou hast wrought in me the will so to do, give me also the deed and [Page 43] that I may not trust to the strength of my resolutions, but to the con­tinual gracious assistance of thy Spirit for the performance of those things that through thee I shall re­solve to do: Holy and blessed God, Christ hath sent me, wishing me to come to thee in his Name for any mercies I stand in need of; grant these things which I have begged for the Lord Jesus sake, Amen.

This, or a prayer to the like pur­pose thou art to put up unto God, but it is to be done with thy whole heart, for thou must know that it is by the strength which thou shalt get from God by prayer, whereby thou shalt be enabled to perform this or any other duty profitably, for it is he that teacheth us to pro­fit, he that begins a holy duty without God, will end it without God also. It is a dangerous thing to think that we can by our na­tural [Page 44] parts, Learning, or by the strength of Grace already received without Gods further assistance per­form any thing that can please God, or edifie our own Souls; For though our Mountain be made strong, yet if he shall hide his face, there will be trouble. We may with much more Sense say, Now the Sunne shines so bright, and the Air is so clear, that now we can do well enough for a while, though the Sunne be Eclipsed; then to say, though our Hearts be never so much inflamed with the love of God; Now we are so filled and inflamed by his Love, we shall do well enough by our own strength, for at the present we need not Gods further assistance; Give us but Fewel, Matter to Meditate of, and we shall be able to continue and encrease our flames: Do not count it a Burthen but a Mercy and Priviledge, that God hath necessitated and commanded [Page 45] thee alwayes to draw strength from him.

CHAP. IX. Several Rules for managing the Duty of Consideration.

1. THey must be plain Conside­rations, not intricate and abstruse, For the main end of me­ditation being the affecting of our heart, and resorming of our lives, and not informing of our under­standings, our considerations should be so plain, that they may be without difficulty understood.

2. It must be certain and evi­dent, not controversial and doubt­ful; For the end of Meditation is not properly to encrease our know­ledge, but to improve our know­ledge.

3. Much less should our con­siderations be Curious and Nice Speculations, or if we choose any [Page 46] Book, by reading whereof to help our Meditation, we must not choose such as are filled with flou­rishes and Rhetorick, for let a truth be drest never so curiously, the Wit and Eloquence wherewith the Truth is clothed, leaves the Truth before it comes to the heart, as some Meats that are made in curious works are spoiled of all those curiosities before they come to the stomack; and the Bee lights not upon the Rose which hath the freshest colour, and the sweetest smell, but upon the Thyme that is an Herb of little beauty, Besides Eloquence to them that Meditate is much like Pictures in Books to Children, they neglect their Lesson to look on their Pictures, they will be looking on their pictures while they should be getting their Les­son? So the fancy will be playing with the Eloquence, when the heart should be feeding on and affected with the truths we read. The less [Page 47] time the Truth stayes in the under­standing, the better; for the work of the understanding in this business is not to retain, but to convey the Truths to the heart; As Physicians use when they are to give Medecines to Cure any Disease in the Bladder', they give such as may soonest come to the part affected, for if they stay by the way they lose their vertue, before they come to the part which they shou'd cure; So if the Understanding shall stay dallying with the E­loquence or searching out the mean­ing or certainty of the Truth it considers any long while, the heart will lie cold and unaffected all that while: It is somewhat like that Story concerning Musi [...]ians that were to play before the Emperor of the Turks, who were so long tuning their Instruments which they should have done before, that he would not stay to hear their Musick; Therefore let the Truths you consider of to raise affections be plain, certain, nourishing.

[Page 48] 4. The fourth Rule is, that in case any doubt ariseth upon a plain known Truth (for Satan will be subject to cast in doubts against the most evident Truths) then do as the Arch angel did with Satan, you may enter the Lists with Satan, and it may be when you have a little considered and disputed the matter, the mist may vanish, and the Sun shine clear, and Satan be­ing resisted will presently fly: but if Satan shall still wrangle, and your Blasphemous Doubs shall not be removed, then dispute no more, but say as the Arch angel did, the Lord rebuke thee Satan: As a wo­man that is attempted to be ravished will strive and struggle a while, and if she findes that she can quickly get loose, she flies, but othewrise she cries out for help: The Arch angel first disputed, but when that would not speedily prevail, appealed unto God; To this purpose it is good to be exceedingly well grounded [Page 49] in Truths from the word of God, for that is the Sword of the Spirit, and that by which our Saviour si­lenced Satan in all his Temptations. 'Tis a dangereous thing to dispute with Satan by Humane Reason, we must put on the Armour of God, if we will be able to stand in the evil day of Temptation, and when all is done to stand.

5. The fifth Rule is, that we should not over-multiply our Con­siderations, but as soon as by con­sidering of the Truths of God we find our hearts strongly affected, [...]hen we are to pass over that part: but this Caution must be ob­served, that we must not as soon as we find our heart never so lit­tle affected, leave off our Considera­tions; The Bee will not go from the Flower so long as any Ho­ney is easily drawn out of it: and indeed it is a Temptation which the people of God ought [Page 50] to take notice of; That Satan is subject to make one pass over Du­ties before we have drawn half the strength of them, as for Example, When we are confessing of our sins, as soon as ever our hearts begin in the least measure to be humbled, be fills them with joy, such joy may ge­nerally be suspected to be from Satan, or our own naughty hearts, not from God. Corn when it springs up too fast, and grows rank, Husbandmen cut it down, a Corrosive that is laid on to eat dead flesh, must not be taken off as soon as it begins to smart, the Wheat in the stony ground did soonest spring up: We should let our Considerations take deep Root, and not passe over to affecti­ons and resolutions as soon as ever they take hold of our heart, but it is alwayes to be remembred, that in case our affections be very much inflamed, as soon as ever we begin our Considerations we are to yield [Page 51] to the Inspirations of God, and to follow the leading of the Spirit; for this Method that is set down, is not to bind up and limit the ex­traordinry working of the Spirit of God; but if our hearts be only a little moved, we must do as I have said, not leave blowing the fire as soon as ever it begins a little to be kindled, for green wood (for such are we in spiritual matters) will suddenly go out, unless it be very well kindled.

CHAP. X. Concerning Affections.

KNowledge is for Considerati­on, and Consideration is to raise Affections, and the end of Af­fections are Resolutions, as the end of Resolution is Action and the re­forming of our lives; Our affecti­ons are various according to the [Page 52] Subject we Meditate of; Some­times we admire Gods goodness, his Majesty, his Wisdom; Some­times we admire and wonder at our own folly and madness, that we should live so contrary so our own Principles, that those truths that God revealed unto us on pur­pose that we might improve them to our eternal welfare, we should lay by as things forgotten & useless; As if one that had a Recit to cure the Stone, and were convinced of the Excellency and Efficacy of it, yet should make no other use of it, but to read it over and, lay it by; Some­times the affection is despising the World, and abhorring our selves in Dust and Ashes, sometimes Sor­row, sometimes Joy, Love, Fear, &c. which you may find abundant­ly in the Psalmes of David, which were but Davids Meditations, though not in this Method, Now a [...] [Page 53] soon as our affections are much stir­red and raised, it is time to pass o­ver to resolutions.

CHAP. XI. Rules Concerning Resolutions.

1. LEt your resolutions be firm and strong, not sleighty, let not them be Velleities or wishes, but resolved purposes or Determi­nations; Do not say with thy self, Well, I see very well that the wrath of God comes upon the Children of disobedience, and I must to Hell, or leave my taking the Name of God in vain; I do not well to swear, and I wish I could leave it but say thus with thy self, I am resolved by the blessing of God whatsoever comes of it; to leave my swearing; There is no dallying with God, nor giving a faint denial to sinne; [Page 54] I have heard of one who hearing the sin of swearing spoke much against by some in whose company he was, observed their Discourse, and said, Well, by the blessing of God I will never swear more, and though he was a common Swearer before, he was never since heard to swear one Oath to this day.

2. Let thy Resolutions be for the time present, not for the future; Do not say, Well, I do intend to leave my drinking, but for the pre­sent I am engaged in such a meeting, and for that time I will do as I have done, but after that I will think of it, and take some order for the mend­ing of it; This is but one of Satans wiles whereby he cosoneth thee of the whole life by dayes, which he could not do by years; If Satan should say unto thee, Thou shal [...] never repent, never leave thy drunken­ness, it may be it would startle thee, and he would be in danger of getting [Page 55] nothing of thee by asking so much: but he tempting thee only to let it alone this week, and afterwards for a week longer, &c. he obtains the same thing at several times which he could not obtain at once.

3. The third Rule, Let thy re­solutions be not only against thy sin, but against the means, occasi­ons, and temptations to it; for it is better to discern Satan, if it may be, then to put a Sword in his hand, and say, thou canst well enough de­fend thy self against him: This is Solomons advice, He doth not say to him that would fly Adultery, You may talk with a Harlot, but, Be not inticed by her words to uncle­anness, he will not give thee leave to go into her house, or so much as by her door, Pro. 5. 8. So when he diswadeth the Drunkard from drunkenness, he wisheth him not so much as to look upon the Wine; [Page 56] For as the beauty of a Harlot, so the colour of Wine will enflame our desires after it, Prov. 23. 31. after this manner did Job resolve, I have made a covenant with my eyes that I will not look upon a woman, and he resolved not onely against the sin it self, but against the be­ginnings and temptations to the sin, Job 31. 1. and God forbidding the Nazarites Wine, forbad them to eat Grapes, least by that they should be enticed to drink Wine. Now that I may press this Rule, I shall answer an Objection which generally wicked men are subject to make, as thus, When we perswade a Drunkard that he would leave his Drunkenness, that he would for two or three Moneths resolve not to go into a Tavern or an Ale house, he cries out of preciseness, and saith, What, do you count it a sin to drink in Tavern or Ale-house? I answer therefore,

[Page 57] 1. That when our hearts are af­fected with the sinfulness of sin, and wrought up to a hatred of it, we do as when we exceedingly hate any man, we avoid all those places where we are likely to meet him; I may bid such an one ask God why he forbids the adulterer to walk by the doors of the Harlot; May he not say, Why, she lives in a street, and as honest and godly men walk that way as in any other place in the City.

2. Consider that Licitis peri­mus omnes is a good saying, we ge­nerally perish by lawful things, for in things that are unlawful we are generally more watchful.

3. Know this, that though to be tempted be not a sin, yet when we have found by experience that go­ing to a Tavern, &c. hath been a Snare and temptation that hath ge­nerally prevailed over us, then to be tempted with such a temptation [Page 58] is a sin though one yields not, be­cause by going into temptation which we need not, we sin; for if one shall say, I resolve that though I do speak with the Harlot, I will not consent; though thou dost so, and resisteth all her Enticements, thou sinnest notwithstanding, for thou plainly breakest the Command, Pro. 5. 8.

5. But suppose that it were law­ful for thee to drink Wine in a Ta­vern that thou hast been so often ensnared by it, yet one effect of true repentance is an holy revenge, by debarring our selves those things which are lawful, taking Gods part against our selves, 2 Cor. 7, 11.

6. Consider that if thy hatred of sin and love of God be not strong enough to stop thee from the beginnings, and keep thee from the occasions of sin, how canst thou [Page 59] expect that it should keep thee from committing the Sinne it self, when it hath got some advantage over thee. He that cannot stop him­self at first, will much less (when he hath rolled down a steep hil half way) be able to stop himself, for then he falls with more violence, and the same strength to hold will not serve then which would at first; therefore I shall continue the advice, to re­solve not only against the sin, but against the occasion, &c. But I must give you one Caution, that though you finde your heart never so much resolving against and abhorring of any sin, yet take heed that you build not upon the strength of re­solutions, but beg of God that he would enable you by his strength, and that as he hath given you the will, so he would give you the deed also. It was well observed by one as follows.

[Page 60] In effect it is true that we do un­derstand many things by experience which we should not understand by knowledge, as this, I having often­times determined to do many things, the one more pious, holy, and Christi­an then another, and having seen for the most part the issue and effect to be quite contrary to what I determined; and on the contrary, observing that other pious and Christian things were done by me, without my prae­determination or forecast; I stood as it were confounded in my self, not understanding in what this secret did consist; I did not wonder that in things which I determined as a man, the contrary should come to pass of that which I would; but I did wonder that in the things which I determined as a Christian, the same should be­fall me; and finding my self in this Confusion, it came to pass that I read that Resolution of Saint [Page 61] Peter, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee; and considering that though the Resoluti­on was pious, holy, and Christian, the contrary of that which he resol­ved befel him; I understand that my determinations had not their issue and effect according to my desire, be­cause I did not well consider mine own utter disability to perform any holy and good work; So that I understood by experince, that although God pu­nished my inconsiderateness in not suffering that to come to pass which I intended; yet on the other side he satisfied my general desire of doing good, by suffering that to came to pass which I did not procure, nor hope, nor pretend unto; whence I have gather­ed, that the will of God is, that I should depend on him in such manner, that I should determine or propound nothing without holding him before mine eyes, shewing unto him my [Page 62] good will, and referring unto him the issue and success of my desires and endeavours.

CHAP. XII. Directions for Vows.

NOw because Vows do very frequently, especially in young beginners follow upon resolutions, and because that very many pious and religious persons have been ensnared by rash Vows, and after Vows it is not fit to make enquiry, therefore I shall set down some Cautions of, and Directions for Vows.

1. As we have said concerning Resolutions, let your Vows be ra­ther against the occasions of sinne then against sin it self.

2. When the subject of your Vows is of things indifferent in themselves.

[Page 63] 1. Take heed of making any perpetual Vow, for the reason why you make any Vows against any indifferent thing, as in drinking Wine, &c. It is, because then it was a snare unto you, but in process of time, it may cease to be a snare un­to you, nay, it may be a very great Snare, and occasion Sickness or death, not to drink it, as in some cases hath happened.

2. Let all Vows concerning in­different things be Conditional, and let these two constantly be two of the Conditions. First, That you will abstain from such a thing, or do such a thing, unless you shall be otherwise advised by some godly Minister or private Christian. I knew a Religious woman that had Vowed to Read many Chapters e­very day; when she was unmar­ried she made this Vow, but afterwards in the time of her lying in, and other Weaknesses, the [Page 64] Chapters were so many, that the did much endanger the losse of her sight, and the neglect of all o­ther duties, when her poverty and family grew great; Now had she added this Caution to her Vow, she might have been delivered out of that snare, and though it be true that in many cases a Vow may be dispensed withall, when we cannot keep it without sin, as in this case, one hath vowed a weekly secret Fast, ones Health, or Child with which one goes will certainly be destroyed by it, yet if it be but an inconvenience, though a very great one, it will not release one from ones Vow, Now the reason why I add that condition (unless some Minister or for want thereof some other godly Christian shall otherwise ad­vise) is because the several cases that may happen are so various that it is impossible to specifie them all, [Page 65] or think of them all, and very diffi­cult to judge of them all, when we make the Vow: And moreover if we should leave it to our selves, we should be too partial, for as when our Consciences are much touched for our sins, we are subject to be too violent in our spiritual revenge, so in a little time when that pang is over, we are subject to be too in­dulgent to our selves, therefore it is better to say thus, Lord, I do vow unto thee, that I will keep every week a day of Humiliation, or that I will not drink any Wine this three moneths next following, unless some such occasion shall be; That if it had then been, or then thought of when I made my Vow, that such or such, or some other godly Minister would (had I consulted with him then) wisht me not to make that Vow; then to say, I will do this or that, unless some such occasion be, that were the Vow to be made [Page 66] again, I would not make it. 2. Add this Caution, viz. If I remember it I will not drink Wine this moneth, the reason is, because if you drink Wine, though you did not think of it, you sin if your Vow be absolute; but if it be with that condition it is not a sin, and yet by adding that condition, we give our selves no liberty, since it is not in our power to forget it. The next Caution concerning Vows in indifferent things is this, add a penalty upon the breach of your Vow, which penalty is not added by way of hope of Satisfaction, that's gross igno­rance and Superstition, but it must needs run thus, I will spend half an hour an hour a day in Prayer for the Church to the end of this moneth, or else give so much to the poor, and in such a case if we do either, we sin not: the reason why we should add a penalty to it, because some incon­veniencies may be so great, that it [Page 67] would bring some very great mis­chief upon us, and then we have liberty to take the other part of the Vow, viz. And now this penal­ty must 1. Not be two light and trivial, but it must be of such con­sequence that it may be a Tye up­on us, and yet not of so great weight as if it should happen, it might prove some great inconve­nience to us; For a rich man to say he will give 6 d. to the poor is not considerable, and yet the same may be to heavy a Burthen for one that is very poor to give. The next Rule is, Let this penalty be alwayes of something that is Ma­terially good, as giving to the Poor, spending some time in read­ing of Scripture; for as for Popish Penances, as whipping, Pilgri­mages, and such like, they are un­profitable and ridiculous: The next Rule is, Let this penalty be alwaies [Page 68] some holy Duty that is most con­trary to thy Master sin, as if thy Master sin be Covetousness, let it be Alms; if it be voluptuousness, let it be fasting with prayer, or ab­staining wholly for a time from that wherein thou most delightest, &c. The next Rule is, Let your vows be rather against the outward then the inward acts of sin, rather a­gainst speaking angrily then being angry, for though inward acts of sin are worse, yet they are not so much in our power. The next Rule is, if your vows are concern­ing doing holy duties, it is better to vow to spend some time in read­ing holy Scripture, or such like, then to read so many Chapters for thou wilt be tempted to read them over too fast, that thou maist have end­ed, whereas if it be, so much time that thou hast resolved to spend, thou wilt not be so subject to this temptation.

CHAP. XIII. Rules for the concluding of Meditation.

1. THou art earnestly to beg of God strength to perform whatever thou hast resolved to do in his service; This must be done fexvently, though briefly and hum­bly, proceeding from an earnest desire to do what thou hast promi­sed and resolved, and also from an humble sense of thine ability to per­form it.

2. The second Duty is Thanks­giving, if thou shalt perceive any heavenly warmth of love or Spiri­tual hatred of sin, or any other Spiritual effect wrought in thy heart, thou art to give God the glory, and not to rejoyce in thy self, but in the Lord, but thou art to rejoyce with trembling, knowing [Page 70] that if thou art puft up, though thou hast the will to do good wrought in thee, yet if thou provokest him, he can stop it, that thou shalt never be able to do what thou resolvest to do.

The first is an humble acknow­ledgement of our failings in the per­forming of this duty; For if we were not green wood, that love which is now but a spark, would have been a flame; God is not wanting unto us, but we are wanting unto our selves and him; After these are perform­ed, there remain three Duties more.

1. We are to remember what Vows and promises we have made, and it is very usefull to write down all the Vows (as thou makest them) in a Book, because that we shall else be subject to forget the Vow, or the time, or conditions upon which we made it: And it is good to have a Book to keep a Register of things [Page 71] in it (besides a Diary which I have spoken of, and given Rules for in a Manuel, Entituled, A Di­rectory to Christian perfection.

1. Let one head be (for which you are to leave some leaves) for Vows, under which you must write down all your Vows or Resoluti­ons, as you make them, or Spiritu­al promises for Christians, and such like.

The Second must be for the mer­cies of God, Eminent deliverances, and also answers of Prayers; These are to be set down with all perti­nent Circumstances that may any way encrease the mercy.

The third head should be for grosser failings, which were good to be writ down, not in Letters at length that every one may read them, but in Characters known only to our selves; there are other things which because I do not now speak purposely of that business I omit.

[Page 72] The second thing after Medita­tion is ended, is, to remember what passages in our Meditation did most affect us, and as it were to lay them up in our thoughts, that frequntly we may in the rest of the day think of them; As when we walk in a Garden we content not our selves with enjoying the fragrancy of the flowers while we are there, but if we may have leave we often gather a Nosegay to smell of the rest of the day. In this business of Medi­tation do thou likewise.

The third duty after Meditation is by degrees warily and unwil­lingly to go out of the presence of God to wordly employments; Do not go from the presence of God [...] a bird out of the Snare, with joy and with speed: And thou must go also watchfully and warily from such Employments, as one that carries some precious liquor in a shallow, broad, brittle dish he looks [Page 73] to his way, to the Dish and liquor that is in it, lest by holding of it awry by falls or stumblings, he should spill the one, or break the o­ther: So must thou be watchful over thy wayes, else the grace that God hath powred into thy heart in this duty will be spilt. To rush into holy Duties or out of them, ar­gues two great undervaluing of the things of God.

CHAP. XIV. Of the Duty and General Rules for Meditating upon Scripture.

THere are three great Designs the people of God have in read­ing of the Holy Scripture.

1. To be very ready and con­versant in the holy Writ, that so upon all occasion whether it be for direction or answering of a temp­tation. We may not be to seek, [Page 74] and to the end it is necessary that we read some Chapters in the bible, every day three or four Chapters every day will read over the Bible once in a year.

The next Design and end that the people of God have in reading of the Bible is, that they may un­derstand it: The first had need be done with all serious attention, but this with much more; And so I come to the third end of a Saints reading the Word, of which is that when he hath read it, he may me­ditate upon it, this is the most ne­cessary and useful Design of our reading the Scripture, which is to be done with the greatest serious­ness of mind as possibly can be. But as all Scripture is not equally suit­ed to this end, so neither can we think at all times to be in a fit frame and temper to perform this duty, we can go but slowly on in this way, and were every verse in [Page 75] the Bible a fit Subject matter for our Meditation, our life were far too short to Meditate it over, or the third part of it; That this Meditating upon Scripture is a du­ty needeth no more proof then this, to wit, that the Psalmist puts it as a necessary Ingredient, into the Character of a blessed man, viz. that he is one that meditateth in the Law of the Lord day and night, in the 1. Psalm and the 2. verse; If thou didst never Meditate (I do not say according to the Method that I have set down) upon the Word of God, thou art an accursed Crea­turre; There are but a few who think this to be true, or are per­swaded that this Duty of Medita­tion is so Indispensibly necessary, or at least, that live accordingly. Let us look a little into the holy Scripture, and see the practise of the Saints, David the holiest man for his affections that we read of, [Page 76] and you shall find him very fre­quent, nay indeed daily exercised in this duty, Psal. 63. 6. 77. 12. 119. 15, 23 48, 78, 79, 99, 146. by this means he saith he got more wisdom then those who one would think are most likely to get wisdom, for first Malice maketh a man very wise to do mischief, it is no won­der, for the Divel helpeth such in their wicked devises. Secondly, Those who are aged are generally wise men, for VVisdom is with the Aged. And then Thirdly, Tu­tors are wiser then their Pupils, yet David went far beyond them all, which wisdom he attained unto by being much in Meditation upon the Scripture, as he telleth us in his 119. Psal. & ver. 98, 99, 100 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wi­ser then my enemies, for they are ever with me, nay further he saith in the 99. ver. I have more understanding then all my Teachers; how got he [Page 77] that wisdom? Why it was by ma­king Gods Testimonies his meditati­on, and then he understood more then the Ancients, because, I keep thy Precepts, as he speaketh in the 100. vers. Joshua a King, not withstand­ing his great and important Affairs (being the Monarch of the Jews) yet he was commanded continual­ly to Meditate upon Scripture. The Book of the Law was not to de­part out of his mouth, but he was therein to Meditate day and night, as you may read more at large in the 1 Ch. of Jos. v. 8. I have obser­ved in other kinds of Solemn medi­tation. So is this, there is little of learninng required for performance of it, as Joshua was but a servant to Moses, and so not likely to be so learned a man; and David a man, the most conversant in meditation, and that with the best success that we do read of, yet he was but a Shepheard, and afterwards a [Page 78] Souldier, employments which re­quire much Learning to make a make a man capable of: As for the Rules and Direction of this Duty, they differ as to the main not much from those I have here­after given, for solemn Meditation upon some particular Points of Re­ligion: As for the preparatory acts they are the same in both; We are to consider seriously with our selves of the Scope of the words, that so we may the more fully un­derstand their drift and aim, and we are not to let the truth pass, un­til we have by effections, examina­tion, or resolution some wayes ad­vantaged our selves in the most ho­ly Faith, or some wayes else bene­fitted our souls, by a general view taken of the words of the Text, we may see the abundant sweetness and fragrancy of the Word of God, as we do the odour of flowers by senting them; Now Meditation [Page 79] draweth forth the Honey of the Flowers into our bowels, and nou­risheth us thereby, the beauty and Odour of Flowers are very delight­ful, but they nourish not, so bare understanding of the words themselves do rather delight then profit us, and if we go no further, it is but so much on in order to Solemn Di­vine Meditation. I look upon it as one of the greatest sins of the Professors of England, That the reading, studying, and meditating upon Scripture is so much neglect­ed, hence people grow not in know­ledge: I have writ the great things of my Law, and they are strange things unto you saith God, Hos. 8. 12. Doth any man let the Letters of his friends lye by him and never read them: If Lawvers should never read Law Books, but have them in their Studies, it would be very absurd; how wonderful would they be to seek in the resolving of [Page 80] case, if upon the thousand part so good grounds as we have, that the Scripture is the Word of God, we should hear of some Prophecy from God, setting down what would be the doom of England, and all these publick Transactions, would not every one be industruous to get it, and read it? We have a more sure word of Prophecy, and that which teacheth of matters of far grea­ter concernment, then the temporal welfare of this Nation, and yet it lyeth by us as a thing forgot­ten.

The Rules for Meditating upon the Scripture, are either those which highly concern the mat­ter of Meditations, or the right Manner of them; For the right Manner of our Meditations, let it be with all Reverence and Humility, and sense of Gods Majesty upon our Spirits, and [Page 81] how utterly unable we be to understand the VVord of God, without the Spirit of God; if any one in the pride of his heart shall think by the strength of his Gifts and Parts, Savingly to un­derstand the Mysteries of Salva­tion, he will find himself quite mistaken; For as God sendeth the Rich empty away, so he will send the Wise, and the Prudent, igno­rant away.

It seemeth a strange carriage in Christ, to rejoyce in the Spirit, that God had hidden the Myste­ries of the Gospel from the Wise and Prudent: It is wonderfull Arrogance for any one to think he can know God without his leave, whether he will or no, or think to see God by any Light but by his own. He may as well see the Sun without the Sun; one put a question why Christ came not as Moses, or as a Prince, but in [Page 82] the form of a Servant, nor as John the Baptist in an outward austear way, but came eating and drinking, he was answered among many o­ther things, especially for this, that he might deceive the reason of man. For had he come in the outward Form and Manner of a Prince, then humane reason, might have some­thing to build upon that he was the Messias: Outward Mortifica­tion is in high esteem with the World, but inward Mortification, and to be inwardly holy without proclamation, is most sincere.

The second thing for the man­ner of your Meditation, if you would meditate aright, is to come with an indifferent mind, and take heed of bringing the Creature to your mind, but bring your mind to the Scripture, and hear what the Lord will say unto you.

[Page 83] Thirdly, Let your Meditations upon Scripture be very serious, we are to know God as well as to love him with all our mind & strength: We may do the things of the World well enough, and yet mingle many thoughts of God with our worldly Employments, but we cannot mingle the things of God and the World together.

Fourthly, Let the end of your Meditations be to raise holy affecti­ons, and to have stronger resoluti­ons for God then ever you had be­fore, not only to know more of, but that we may have a greater love to God, or else 'tis not Medi­tation but study.

CHAP. XV. Several Rules for the Subject of our Spiritual Meditation.

1. THe first Rule to be observed in the choice of a Subject for your Meditation, is this, viz: To choose those places of Scrip­ture to meditate upon, as are most suitable to your Master Sin, as if your Master Sin be Pride, choose those Scriptures to Meditate upon which is most in speaking against Pride, and set down Gods ha­tred and Detestation of it, or his severe Judgements executed upon it; And all his Threat­nings against it, as you may see in several places that set down the Evil Nature or Effects of it, [Page 85] and so of any other Sinne that is not thy Master Sinne, for it is of great concernment, and a sure sign of Sincerity to keep our selves from our own iniquity: Thus you find David speaking of himself, that he kept himself from his own ini­quity, Psal. 18, 23.

2. Meditate upon those Scrip­tures which you find suitable to the dispensation of Gods Providences, as when the Church is in danger of persecution, Then meditate upon those Scriptures which either com­mand you to have, or do commend the Saints of God for having a sence of the Saints sufferings upon their Spirits, set down the places that make Promises to those that are sensible of the sufferings of the Saints, and also those places that do set out Gods love to his people, and promises of support, and de­liverance to them in the time of [Page 86] their adversity meditate also upon the Histories of Gods deliverance of his people in their great straights, and also of the way and Method of his deliverance, of those Prayers also that prevaileth with God for their deliverance in such cases.

3. Meditate upon those Scrip­tures which are suitable to mens personal providences, as if thou art rich, then meditate upon those Scrip­tures that set down the danger, and the duty of the rich: If thou art af­flicted with sickness, poverty, or dis­grace, imprisonment, meditate upon those places which set down thy Duty in those Conditions, and those Pro­mises that set down comfort for thee in those conditions. Meditate upon those Scriptures which set down the carriage of Saints in thy Con­dition, and how God supported them, and at last Delivered them.

[Page 87] 4. Let your Meditation be upon Scriptures suitable to your Temp­tation: As if you are tempted to uncleanness as Joseph was, then me­ditate upon those Scriptures which speak against uncleanness; It is fit to meditate of the hainousness of sin in such cases, and not of those Scriptures that may increase your Temptations, but of those that may remove them, as a person un­der Desertion is not to meditate of those Scriptures which do speak of the sinfulness of sin, or of the Ma­jesty of God, and his terrible Wrath executing judgements upon sinners, all which serve rather to terrifie a poor drooping Soul then to comfort it, but let him rather Meditate upon those Scriptures which do speak of the merciful nature of God, of the full satifaction of Christ, and of his great love to poor sinners, as to Paul, Manasses, Mary Magdalen, and some such [Page 88] other great sinners whom God hath pardoned.

5. Let your meditations be sui­table to the Ordinances that you are to be made partakers of, as if you are to receive the Sacra­ment, Then meditate upon your pre­paratory, concomitant and subsequent duties: Meditate upon the love of God the Father, upon the love of God the Son, Jesus Christ, consider the excellency of his person, the great­ness of his sufferings, and how valid they be to the satisfaction of Gods Justice, and so likewise to consider of the excellency, nature, and use of the Sacrament. So if thou hast a Child to be baptized, consider the Duties and promises of belonging to that Ordinance, the Duties thereof belonging to thee for the present, but to the Child for the future.

6. The Scripture is not to be meditated on as it is to be read: [Page 89] There is no part of the Scripture but what is to be read by us, but there is a great deal of Scripture which cannot be a fit Suject for us to meditate upon, but such as I shall mention, though there be ma­ny parts of Scripture besides, which may be fit proper Subjects for us to meditate upon, but these most e­specially, as the Psalms of David, many Chapters of the Proverbs of Solomon, some choice places of the Canticles, most of the Holy Gospels, and most of the Epistles, Something of the Revelation, and then all pro­mises in general, and that for two Reasons, The one is, because the Promises themselves put us upon the Duty, and then the pro­mises bring Comfort; Far be it from us to despise the Consolati­ons of our heavenly Lord: Medi­tate also upon the holy and blessed Commands of God, and the Ex­amples of Saints; and let this be [Page 90] your Meditation to say thus within your selves, Why should Abraham love God, or David love God more then I? Why should the Angels love God more then I? God hath forgiven me thousands of Iniquities and trans­gressions, but never forgave the An­gels one. When thou readest holy Examples of the Old Testament, you may see that not only such and such things are feasible, but that with far less help it was done, then now we in these Gospel times have to do it with.

7. Let Christ be very much the Subject of your Meditation, when I consider the whole business of the worship of God from the begin­ning of the World to Christ, and how God doth acquiesse in Christ, and that the highest Angels desire to know him.

I fully conclude, that Christ is wonderfully worththy, to take [Page 91] up our thoughts, our chiefest love, and our greatest joy, so that the question will not be, whether Christ be worthy of our love, but rather whether our love be wor­thy of Christ, and as the other, so this is unquestionable and of doubt, that it is not.

Instances OF Solemn Divine MEDITATION.

Meditation I.

ALas my God, I am in a sad condition, mine afflictions grow daily upon me, and that which is mine unsup­portable misery, my corruptions grow faster upon me then my affli­ction; What before made me weep will not now make me sigh; The heavy burthen of a great abomina­tion doth not lie upon me so much [Page 93] as before I was oppressed with a vain thought in my prayers: Alas Lord, alas, I am undone, alas my Corruptions have almost made me love them, and make me weary of Duties, and careless of Graces, My joyes are gone, and my sorrows are gone that were suitable to thy Word, and now my joys are but the laughter of Fools, and my sor­rows are Carnal, Sensual, and more of Hell in them then of Heaven, and as now I can scarce tel my sorrows, so have I scarce any sorrow to tell; I have sate down and wept to con­sider the great decayes of holiness in me, but now I can see my God going from me, and when as now he is even out of sight, mine eyes are as dry as my heart is hard; Alas Lord if thou wilt not return, thou wilt lose a poor Soul that hath loved thee, and is somewhat troubled; Now poorsad Soul that it is so wicked as it is.

Meditat. II.

Lord, thou seest the strange di­stempered temper of mine heart and Spirit, ah blessed God I should take more comfort if I should see my heart-blood running forth be­fore mine eye, then to see mine eyes so dry and my heart so hard, I have worn out almost all Motives to ho­liness, they now take no impression in me which before were too strong for me to bear, they ravisht me which now do not move me: I scarce ever go to Prayer but I have enough and too many Spiri­tual complaints to employ it to express; If every day I had not just cause to bewail a continued decay of Grace, I might have some res­pite of my griefs: But what shall I now do? VVhen every day shall bear witness against me, and every night my sin shall go to bed with [Page 94] me, and lie in my bosome, and rise in the morning more strong then at night: Ah when my former holy life shall be more terrible then others wicked lives; when my former prayers shall be like the Gall of Asps unto me, VVhen those Du­ties which should be my comfort are my terrour: Alas what can my poor Soul do? when my present sins, and my past duties, which of them are the heaviest burthen unto me, I do not know, what shall I do? When I consider these things, then the thoughts of the affliction that lies upon me makes me weep a tear or two, and my vain heart, my de­ceitful heart, would perswade me that I weep for my sins: Those in desertion are in a blessed condition to me, they are sad and I am mise­rable; I am guilty of that which their Consciences do but accuse them off: Alas, have I my commu­nion with God? my sweet Com­munion, [Page 96] and the power I had to prevail with him for any mercy al­most that I prayed for; now I can pray, and pray, and pray, and go away without a blessing, I can al­most be content to be wicked, Thou knowest mine heart, or else my tears would deceive thee as well as me: If they are worldly thoughts that have estranged me from thee, thou knowest how to cure me; if mine utter impoverishings will cure me, let me be as poor Job; if thou wast not such a Physician as thou art, I was past cure.

Meditat. III.

Lord, I am come now to power out my soul before thee, and my tears in thy bosome, to tell thee the sad thoughts and sorrows of my heart; Ah my God, in this bit­terness of my Soul, and with tears in mine eyes, and pride in my heart, [Page 97] and sencelesness upon my Spirit, I speak these things: Ah Lord, thou hast scourged me with scorpions, for my sins do encrease as well as my afflictions, these afflictions to me are scorpions, to me they have poyson in them, and at once I am scourged and stung with them, a sad ease it is when my punishment is heavier than I can bear, and yet notwithstanding I go from the presence of God too, and that more and more. My tears dry up in mine eyes, and my love goes out of my heart as soon as kindled; When the Candle of the Lord shined up­on my Tabernacle in my first con­version, when the fire of thy love was kindled in my heart, I have had some discourses, of devotion, that I was not able to bear the ra­vishment that the remembrance and meditation of them brought to my soul, now almost as full of sadness as then of joy: after those [Page 98] times, as those after the Flood; my joyes and the acts and work­ings of my grace grace grew very short liv'd in comparison of what they were before; then they were Methusalems for age, and Sampsons for strength to what they are now; before though I fell spiritually sick, and my strength and comfort was gone, yet I was sensible of my weakness, it was a pain and a grief unto me that I could not walk in­to the delightful Garden of the Spouse, and to the sweet bed of his Spices; I could weep for want of tears; if not, I could mourn for sorrow, but now like a man that groaned and strugled so long that he can struggle no longer, but grown senceless, can hardly be perceived to breathe or live; If the sweetest Musick should be plaid by him, or the dearest friend in the world should come and ask him with tears in his eyes, Dear [Page 99] Husband, or Dear Wife, how do you? the poor sick one doth not so much as open the eye to see who it is that speaks, or if open them, they be­ing presently heavy with death, fall down again, and he dies; So is it with my poor Soul sometimes, I can hear my Saviour as it were saying unto me (for sometimes me­thinks I see him about my sick Soul,) Ah poor Soul how dost thou do? Is my Joseph yet living? But alas, Lord, thou knowest I have scarce strength or life to lift up mine eye to thee, Lord, Can these dry bones live? Can these dry eyes weep? Can this frozen Heart be enfla­med?

Meditat. IV.

Lord, I am ashamed to consider what I know of thee, when I think what I do for thee: Ah my God, the cares of the world lie heavy upon me, Resolutions though ne­ver so strong are too weak to over­come [Page 100] my corruptions; Alas, I can scarce say any more then I have said in the confessing and bewailing my sad spiritual condition, though I have said nothing to what I should say, Have I not told thee Lord, with tears in mine eyes, and with a sad heart, that I found my Corruptions get ground of me? my prayers, my tears, my resoluti­ons, and some endeavours do re­sist, but cannot overcome them, these keep them from prevailing so soon, but not from prevailing; I humbly confess or desire so to do, that I may complain to thee, but I should add to mine abominations exceedingly if I should complain of thee; Mine heart doth alwayes tempt me to it, when I consider what I was, and what I am, it is a Talent of lead upon my soul, yet since my preaching thou art glori­fied, and thy people edified more then if I should spend all my time [Page 101] in private Meditation, I am wil­ling to submit, only I do humbly beseech thee with tears in mine eyes, that though I have less time to spend in such private duties, yet that my poor Soul may not lose her love to them, and though I per­form fewer duties, I may not per­form them worse then I did when I performed more.

Meditat. V.

I do much wonder at my self and at many, nay some what at all Chri­stians upon dayes of humiliation, but most at my self to hear the tongue of a poor Christian confes­sing, and his eyes weeping for his sins, and speaking of them with such expressions and such fighs that one would think. Surely this Chri­stian keeps a strict communion with God, surely he would not sin for a world, surely God is in all this mans thoughts: And yet stay but whil'st he hath done his prayer, and [Page 102] you find in him such strong thoughts, words, and actions, that are almost incredible, loose and idle words, and vain thoughts, I but too often experience it, and makes it even past hope it should be other­wise with me: If any Town that was straightly besieged with cruel enemies, should send for aid to such or such, and when they came they should send out most of the Town to joyn with the enemy against those that came to help them, What should we say of such people! Lord, just thus are we, We have a world of corruptions and tempta­tions, Sin and Hell, and Satan, all beset us, and violently assault us, we pray for the help of God against them, day after day, We send our prayers to heaven for as­sistance, Well, God doth send his holy Spirit to helpt his poor Soul, in the Ministery of the Word tells us what we should do to overcome [Page 103] these enemies, and sending many motions of the Spirit to bring into our souls grace to strength­en us; we will not do what he adviseth us to do, nay, but we take part with our corruptions, and resist and fight against the power of [...]he world to come; O thy patience is not to be under­stood, I am weary, to think before I go to prayer, how little fruit I expect from them, I pray, and pray, and weep, and hear, and sigh, and confess these as well as other of my sins, and yet as a Ship in the Sea they do divide my cor­ruptions for the present; but they presently return to their former course; Lord do not the bowels of thy compassion yern within thee to see me thy poor Servant in such a miserable condition as I am in? Dost not thou see how sin and corruption do as it were lye gnaw­ing upon me, and eating up my [Page 104] very flesh, and destroying my soul, and I have neither hand nor foot to move against them? Lord, who is it that must make me hate cor­ruption, is it not thy Spirit? who must overcome my resisting of thy Spirit, is it not thy Spirit? Lord, I do not know in the World what to do, to leave off striving were not only to despair of thy good­ness, because thou dost not help as much and when I will, and besides if I cannot get ground, nay, though notwithstanding I lose ground, yet doubtless I shall not go so swiftly down the stream as if I strove not at all: if I must be forsaken by thee to all eternity, yet Lord, let me not while I live so fall that I should be a scandal to Religion; Alass, is it come to this, O my soul, that I must say, if God will forsake me for ever!

Meditat. VI.

Since our dear Lord Jesus Christ hath loved me and given himself for me, Oh that my heart was ravisht with his love! Oh that he was the beloved of my soul, and that I were sick of his love who dyed for the love of me! Oh that I could not be stayed but with his flaggons; This my Jesus the chief­est of ten thousand hath told me that he that saw thee, saw the Father, whereby I understand that thou art just as he was, as pittiful, as gracious, as willing to forgive, as sweet and as easie to be entreat­ed as my good Saviour; and in all the things and passages that thy word hath made known to us of him, I read not of one of all that came to him, not one poor soul that ever begged any grace or any pardon, nor never did any come to be healed of any [Page 106] bodily disease in vain; Lord, thou art as he was, Lord Jesus thou art as thou wast, thy being in Heaven makes thee not less like thy Fa­ther, or thy self; Blessed God, I do beseech thee, to give me, thy poor hard-hearted servant a soft heart; Lord Jesus I beseech thee (thou seest mine heart, my poor heart desire as imperfectly, as coldly) to make intercession for me, me, for whom thou hast paid a dear price, as one that hath been so long from his Friend hath he can hardly call to remembrance what countenance he hath, So I, poor I, that cannot chuse but pi­ty the sad condition of mine own heart, which though it doth not uncessantly and impor­tunately desire grace as it should, yet methinks it is a sad thing to see it in such a careless temper, I am such a stranger to thee that I [Page 107] have much ado to make one thought of thy sweet love and excellencies that may affect my heart, and bring the sweet appre­hensions of thee to remembrance. Thy tender mercies and former relishes of thy goodness are to me like the shadow of death, they are as Christ walking upon the waters, they terrifie me; Lord let me weep thee to me again; Oh my God I am undone, undone, undone; a poor undone creature; Those in desertion are in a thou­sand times better condition then I am, they want the comforts, but then indeed they have the graces of the Spirit, but is not my poor soul that wants both in a sad condition, that can sit down and fall asleep when I should seek my Saviour? I have a soul of such a temper as makes me wonder at my self, as in the Spring, and sometimes [Page 108] there will come a cloud that will seem to overspread the Heavens, and yet on the sudden all will be blown over, and the day so fair that there will not be a cloud to be seen; So am I, sometimes my heart is full of sorrow, and mine eyes full of tears, and yet upon the sudden, my heart loseth that sweet sad temper, and all is blown over, and not a cloud appears, and these clouds of grief are not dispersed with the comforts and joyes of thy Spirit, but with world­ly business or company: when I do grieve for my sins, carnal grief bears a share in it and carnal joy abolisheth it.

Meditat. VII.

To confess my sins without any sense of them, without any hatred of them, to pray for grace, and not to be sensible of the ne­cessity or excellency of it, to come to thine Ordinances without reap­ing [Page 109] any good from them, to think and meditate of thee, and neither admire nor love thee, nor long and delight to be in thy compa­ny, to what purpose are these things? thou desirest of us our hearts and not our works, words, or thoughts, without that: Ah my Lord and my God, shall all be in vain, and wilt thou cast me off for ever? Dost thou hate my soul, and am I an abomination un­to thee? Must I be shut out for e­ver, and never enjoy the sweetness of thy presence? Thou wilt not O my God, thou wilt not, thou canst not O my God, thou canst not, for thou hast made a Covenant withme, and I claim that Covenant, for I have not any thing in world besides thy Covenant in the Lord Jesus Christ, that I can so much as have the least hope that will do me any good: if the Lord Je­sus Christ did not sit at thy right [Page 110] hand to make intercession for me my sins continually, daily, hour­ly clamoring against me, and ac­cusing of me, must needs prevail against me.

Alass my hear is far from that spiritual frame that thou requi­rest, for the miseries that sin brings are more troublesome and heavy to me then the silthiness that is in fin; thy blessings are more lovely in my eyes then thy self; Every duty hardens me in my formality; Lord, thouart the father of mer­cies, Oh have mercy upon me, for my case is not the common case of thy people, but few, few of many, may be found whose soul is like my poor soul, for where is there any that can say so, and yet be so little affect­ed as I am.

Meditat. VIII.

Mine hopes are false, and my fears are true, the deadliest poy­sons do not make me sick, nor the excellentest Cordials do not com­fort me; I am not sick of sin, nor doth the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ fill me with joy, nay, rather doth it not fill me with griefs and fears? if my fears and griefs were not Carnal, would they were more, but my Carnal joyes eat out my Spiritual grief, and my joyes also: I am as it were like Absalom, I hang be­tween heaven and earth, I would fain have heaven, and yet would not part with earth: Oh my Lord Jesus Christ, art thou of no more excellency in mine eyes? Doth thy love to me raise up no more love in me then to stand delibera­ting what to do, when thou stand­est with stretched out arms to re­ceive me to thy bosome? Canst [Page 112] thou love one that loves thee so little as I do? Thou didst love me when I loved thee not at all: Why sittest thou so sad O my Soul? Go cast thy self into the arms and bo­some of the Lord Jesus Christ, there lie and hear the beatings of his heart toward thee, and it may be thou maiest be warmed with the heat of his love; Christ pours out the boyling streams of his heart-blood upon thy poor soul, for his hear, boyled in love towards thee, and can thine heart still be frozen? Oh infidelity thou art the poyson of my Soul, thou with thy cold blasts hast frozen m [...]ne heart and keep'st it so; Lord give me faith, or else all thy mer­cies are in vain, Thy love is, and hath been too great for me to be­lieve: Lord, thou that lovest me so much as to give me Christ, Oh love me so much as to give me saith to believe it; There remains in [Page 113] mine heart no more then the first spark of thy love, and the first Principle of grace that thou didst put into my soul when thou didst regenerate me; All the flames are gone out that were once kindled in me: All the Fruit, and Leaves, and Boughs are stript from me, there are all things to doe beside bare regeneration, I am as an arm cut off, so that it hangs only by a little skin, a slender thread; Lord, this is my hope, that my Corrupti­ons and Satan that have quenched these flames that I have had, shall never be able to quench this spark: But alas that is a poor comfort, that this is all my comfort, that I shall not lose heaven, though it be a thousand times too great a comfort for such a wretched sin­ner as I am, to have: It it nothing to lose all my comforts, all my duties, all my sweet Communi­on with thee, or at least only so [Page 114] much of these remains as to keep me from being utterly cast off; For one that had fared deliciously every day, to come to have no more bread then to keep life and Soul together, though he dies not, yet he hath a miserable life: Thus, thus, and far worse it is with me.

Meditat. IX.

I. I stood clear before thee O my God, of those many sins, of sence­lesness under judgements, fruitles­ness under Ordinances, mispend­ing of time, want of watchful­ness of mine one wayes, and for the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ; Only my sins of unkind­ness to the Lord Jesus Christ, were enough to cause thee to take away thy Mercies from me; I have heard and read the great My­stery of my Redemption, of his be­ing Scourged, and Crowned, and Nailed, of his Bleeding and Dying [Page 115] for me, of his great love, and such things, that if a Friend of this world had done or suffered the thousandth part so much, his me­mory would have been preci­ous.

Meditat. X.

Ah my dear God, thou hast been my God, and therefore thou art my God, how little can my Soul know by any thing that I now either do or feel? I am fain to fetch Evidences and signs from actions done many years since: My pray­ers and other holy Duties were Matter of more joy when I did them than now; they have terrour in them: Now I think I do them not as heretofore: I have been assisted by thy grace, Oh my lost Joyes and my lost Duties, where I shall find you I know not, the Joyes I had formerly, and the great zeal of mine heart made me pray, but now not out of feeling [Page 116] and zeal, but for zeal and joy, and I go from prayer with a sad heart and a hard heart: My prayers come neither from my heart nor reach to my heart: Oh my Lord Jesus Christ where are thy Motions and the Joyes of thy Spirit to work thine own work in me? Why do I walk in this Valley of Tears not only without comfort, but without grace, I do even stand astonisht at my self to see the vast difference be­tween my self now and when I was thine; When the Candle of the Al­mighty shone upon my Soul, and the Spirit of my God dwelt in me, then sorrow and weeping flew away: Alas! I now have scarce any thing left me but carnal tears, and one great cause of my grief and part of my misery is, that I can weep no more; sometimes indeed tears stand in mine eyes when I consider these things; Lord give me Faith, O give me Faith, I feel a deal of A­theism [Page 117] in my heart; Mine heart is so full of Corruption, of all kind, and all Degrees, that I can feel no bottom of this stinking Ditch; Mine imagination is divers times a through-fare for Satans blasphe­mous thoughts, which my Soul ab­hors, I may even sit down and spend the remainder of my wicked life in weeping and wailing, and wringing of my hands, and tearing off the hairs of my head: My sad Soul may say to my God, Art thou quite gone from me, have all my hopes of thee been as dreams and empty shadows unto me, and hast thou shown me so much of heaven, and wilt thou make hell more terrible and bitter to me? Shall thy sweet Mercies be turned into the Gall of Aspes to me, not only to be bitter but deadly? I have cause, I have cause, Lord, to mingle my drink with my tears, to water my couch with weeping: Thou art too [Page 118] great a God to be dallyed withall, and what do I else? As our dear­est Friends, though we never so much delighted in their company while they were living, yet we are afraid to be alone with them, they are a terrour to us after the Souls have left their Earthly Tabernacles; So my prayers while they were li­ving prayers were a great comfort to my poor soul, but now my pray­ers are without life, and my Sup­plications are dead, they are a ter­rour to me, they look gashly upon me, and I upon them.

Meditat. XI.

My dear God, thou art not mo­ved with words, if we had the tongue of Men and Angels, if we could speak as never man spake, if our hearts meant no more than they do, what would our vain words do? I am ever weary of my life because of my Corruptions, I can go no where nor do any thing, [Page 119] but my coruptions follow me, and tire me even out of my pa­tience: O that I could weep over my prayers to see how dead they are, which way to turn I know not, I have prayed a thousand times for another heart, and yet mine heart is as hard as a stone, and so full of hypocrisie: Lord, shall I cast away my confidence, and lay down my weapons, and put off mine armour, because my corruptions are so strong and impetuous, and deaden my very soul? But alass what am I wea­ry of? not of my sins, but of the accusations of my conscience. that will not let me alone; bles­sed be thy Name that I am trou­bled that I do not live holily; Lord, mine heart is entangled in the snares of the world, blessed Saviour, thou which hast over­come the world, deliver me from the cares and love of the world; [Page 120] Alass what good do my tears do me? Dost thou bottle up such tears, such puddle water in thy bottles? let the bowels of thy com­passion yern within thee towards my poor soul. it is full of sin, but my sin is my sorrow, though my sor­row itself is sinful, if thou stand­est as a stranger to me I must give over my self for lost, then I may say, farewell prayers; bet­ter to say, farewel, then to add to my former sins a greater guilt by defiling my prayers that are as Chariots to carry out my soul into the bosome of God; What am I to stand against corruption or temprations? I am no more able to overcome, nay to resist them, than to remove Mountains. I have sinned away my joyes, and sinned away mine hopes, and even my God, if thy mercies be not greater, and what remains for my poor soul to do, but to [Page 121] sit down in sorrow, and even to mourn until my Soul be heavy unto Death? It had been better for me that I had not been one to shew the way to others: Nay, but Oh my God, that is best for me that thou hast done for me; Bles­sed God, do but make me thine.

Meditat. XIII.

In the most serious addresses of my Soul to take hold upon God, I find an unhappy frozenness be­num the best of my Devotions, and thereby I shew either that I am extreamly ignorant of thee Lord, or what is worse, sensless of thee; The truth is I may justly tremble when I come to keep any day of Humiliation in thy sight, not only because of the desperate sins I am guilty of, but especially because such Duties do work little or nothing upon me, and this is sure enough, that those Ordinances that do not soften, do harden; I [Page 122] am in a great straight, my Consci­ence drives me upon Duties, and I dare not omit them, and yet my heart is so hard and filthy that they do not purifie me, So I am more defiled than before: Ah my God, thou knowest what afflictions are bitter and strong enough to purge these Corruptions; Lord, send them, and though I am so vile that I do not now fervently and earnest­ly enough desire to be cured, but yet Lord I know my want of desires of Reformation is one of my great­est Corruptions, I desire to be cured of that, or at least Lord, thy Fa­therly goodness I hope will take care to cure me of that, and Lord, this I know, that when thou shalt send any such affliction upon me, I shall it is too likely Murmure and be weary of the Chastisment of the Lord; it may be I shall pray for the taking off of that Corrosive be­fore it hath eaten away that dead­ness [Page 123] of heart and other corruptions that now lie upon me, yet Lord do not yield to such prayers, go on with thy Cure, and if I be impati­ent, cure that corruption also, and every other corruption that shall appear in the time of cure of any corruption, I shall bless thee one day for not hearing, and not grant­ing such prayers as shall be for my spiritual harm: Lord Death is very bitter unto me, surely it would not be so bitter, if there were no Root of bitterness in me; if I kept a stricter communion with thee in this world, I should long for a full communion with thee in heaven for ever.

Meditat. XIII.

Alas, Oh my soul, may not I justly spend the remainder of my dayes in sighing, to perceive my good, from whose presence I have in former times had so much grace and comfort, to be such a stranger [Page 124] now to me, and what is worse, mine heart so sensless of his absence! The time hath been when my heart hath almost bled within me to think what a miserable condition I should be in, if ever it should come to pass that it should be thus; Lord, why dost thou absent thy self from my poor soul? If I were in a deser­tion of comforts, I were in a far better condition, but to be in a de­sertion of Graces and not to be troubled, is a sad condition: Me thinks I see my stock of grace grow weaker and weaker, and more and more to languish, as one that is dying, the pulse grows weaker and weaker, until at last it be no more. O Lord, what to say, I do not know; alas! I cannot but call, and cry & pray, Lord if ever thou wilt take pity upon a poor Miserable speech­less Sinner; Lord, if thou wilt that I may overcome, Lord, I cannot get my heart to be content to be [Page 125] damned, and indeed since then I must eternally be separated from thee, I do not desire to get mine heart to be content, but to struggle against it as long as I am able.

Meditat. XIV.

To have Satan and Corruption come and beset me as soon as I a­wake, and to follow me all the day long, and go to bed with me, and to keep me waking, to have no respite, is a sad condition: When I should awake with my God, my good God, who kept me, and watched over me whil'st I slept; to have Satan stand ready, and hold his Temptations before mine eyes which way soever I look, and to prevail so far with me, as at last to make me scarce to hate the sin he tempts me to: I feel in my Spi­ritual part an utter abhorring of the Sin, I would give ten thou­sand Worlds rather than com­mit [Page 126] the Sin, and yet I have much ado to refrain; alas, can my secure soul live?

Meditat. XV.

I am in such a wretched temper as to be willing to offend my God, and when I go about to grieve, sorrow is far from me; nay, the grief which sometimes I feel, is not strong enough to conquer the temptation, when tears stand in mine eyes to consider the miserable condition of my Soul in being so pro [...]e to Sin, the Temptation en­creaseth; To hear one of thy ser­vants groaning under thy hand, and then to stand parlying with temp­tation, and not rather be afraid that the same affliction, &c. Lord, I am in thy hand, for affliction, lay what thou wilt upon me, I must bear it, and I would bear it patiently; nay Lord, though this Temptation be such an unwelcome [Page 127] guest, and I am two weary of it, yet so thou wilt give me grace to overcome my impatience, I am content Lord as much as I can; but alas my God, to have Satan my Companion instead of my God, I hope will never be pleasing to me.

Meditat. XVI.

Lord, what vain heart thinks of thee it matters not, except it be to discover the wretchedness of it, thou hast more glorious Creatures to praise thee: my praises, and my thoughts of thee are so low and so unworthy of thee, that thou mightest forbid me as thou didst the Devils to confess thee, or to say any thing of thee: My dear God, if a World would buy it for one such sight of thee as might so ravish my Soul, that I might never more see any beauty, or taste any sweetness in any thing but in thee, that I might see thee with open face, that I might be transformed [Page 128] into thy image from glory to glory: Lord, thou art still beyond me, the higher my thoughts are of thee the more thou art beyond me and a­bove me; when my thoughts are best, my thoughts are lost in the meditation of thee, as the stone that is thrown into the calm Sea, makes greater and greater circles, but can never reach the shoar: Lord, I am content I may be lost in my self so I may find thee, Lord, though there were none but thou and I in the world, I had enough, nay, though there were none but thou and I in Heaven, I had enough, enough; Though I have nothing to say to thee but what I have said a thou­sand times, Thou art my God my Saviour, my all, thou art he whom my soul loveth; yet though I have nothing else to say, nor case there is any new rellish yet I delight to [Page 129] be alone with thee: nay, though thou saist nothing to my poor soul but what I have heard from thee, yet let me still be in thy company: I had rather weep and mourn for mine offending thee, then enjoy all delights in the world; Those salt waters are more precious then their Wine.

Meditat. XVII.

Lord, I beseech thee to order all mine affairs by thy wisdom, thou knowest what afflictions are needful for me; I murmure oftentimes when thou afflictest me, although I have again and again desired thee to direct all things that belong unto me: but blessed God, let not my Murmurings so provoke thee as to leave me to mine own self; Give me not what I desire but what I want, my judgement in judging what is good or bad for me is little worth; for many times I have judged such a thing to be for [Page 130] my hurt, yet it hath proved much for my good, and so on the contra­ry, but then I have by experience found it evidently for my good, when I have yielded my self whol­ly to be guided by thee, all things Lord make me know my self; I am a poor Creature with teares in mine eyes, and hypocrisie in my heart.

Meditat. XVIII.

Lord, it fares with me as it fares with one that hath been a long time from his friend, he hath many things to tell him of, several par­ticulars that befell him since their last being together, so Lord, I have been a stranger to thee, and I have much to say to thee, much have I suffered from mine own cor­ruptions, and little have I done; I have a heart will let me do no­thing for thee; Lord, I am but a Child, pardon my bablings; I have none to make my complaint to, no [Page 131] not one; Thou hast caused me to live in Mesech, and to have my ha­bitation in the Tents of Kedar, and if thou Lord wilt supply the want of those Christian friends I am now deprived of, Lord, my heart is so deceitful, that I have much a do to know whether I ever was, or am yet thine: I know Lord how I have spent dayes, sometimes whole weeks together in Prayer, and Meditation, and reading De­votionary Bookes to Prepare my self for the Communion, and yet then I had gross sailings, for there was a World of Covetousness in me, and thirsting after Humane Learning exceedingly, and little prizing the knowledge of Christ in my Sermons, I did little aim at thy glory but to preach my self: Now in these things I find some healings, but my duties are fewer, and now there is far more wanting in com­parison of what I should be, then [Page 132] was then, of what I am now: Nay Lord, thou only knowest I shall be a gainer: but alas! if now I am a­lone I shall have no more fire of thy love then I had when I lived in the midst of Glowing Coals of Devotion, how can I but go out now, since I had much ado to burn then? When I think of serving thee, then my heart is so perverse as to put in a Carnal Motive, and saith, If thou dost so, then God will bless thee in such or such a temporal blessing, and my heart closeth with that Motive.

Meditat. XIX

O my God, as thou art my Fa­ther, so let me know that thy love to me being known by me, may put Wheels to my Obedience, that now goes so heavily & that it may make mine obedience more pure that now is so full of insufficiency: I am fain to be glad almost of any Motive to make me serve thee, but yet it [Page 133] is my burthen that fear should make me do that which love should make me do, for besides that such obedi­ence is painful, that which is worse, it is impure also: Alas, I am a stranger too much unto thee, and in being so, an enemy to my self; Lord this is the first day I have gi­ven thee this great while, it doth appear it is so by the poor and weak duties I perform; my poor soul is like a poor desolate Wid­dow that hath lost her dear Hus­band, every one trampleth upon her, and oppreiseth her.

Meditat. XX.

Lord, where are those sweet em­brances and manifestations of thy love, that thou hast bestowed on me in former times? when I have gone unto the treasury of thy mer­cies, and fetched any mercy from thence that I wanted. Thou hast given unto my prayers my dear [Page 134] Brother, who went forth a blasphe­mer, or at least a common swear­er, and came home, I seeking thee for him, a convert, after thou ga­vest me his life and the life of my Mother, and indeed Lord, what was it but I had of thee? thou didst almost miraculously restore one of my Sisters to comfort: But now when I cry and shout thou shuttest out my prayers, and art almost as if I never had any acquain­tance with thee: Lord, I know that the fault is mine own, indeed Lord I then was scarce ever from thee, or out of thy thoughts: For were I but as I have been, so often keeping dayes of humbling before thee; it could not be that my du­ties should be such as they are, but Lord thou seest the tears th [...]se thoughts cause me to shed, they are thine, do thou encrease them, but take away this dulness and deadness of heart that is the just rea­son [Page 135] why I shed them, and if thou shalt once purifie and inflame mine heart by faith and love, I shall shed abundant more tears for my wandring thoughts in prayer, then now I do, for all the abominati­ons I am guilty of; Alas, Lord, the ordinary dayes of thy Saints are far more holy then the dayes I set a­part for special service of thee; and their thoughts in the midst of their worldly businesses, are more de­vout and zealous then my thoughts in my prayers, were alwayes with thee: I scarce did any thing, though almost of never so small Moment, but the reason why I did it this or that way, was, because it was some way or other more for thy glory: Lord, it is not thy fault, for thou dost wait to shew Mercy, whether my wretched heart will consent to it or no: This I do set down as an infallible truth, and let all the world give [Page 136] thee the glory of it, all thy ways are holy, just and good, and thou dost stretch out thine arms to embrace us, it is our fault that we do not run into thy bosome, the infideli­ty and other corruptions that are in our bosomes, make us think that thou art not willing to receive us, or imbrace us, and so we not com­ing, we want that experimental knowledge of thee, that would (if we had it) make us not so timo­rous of coming to thee as we are.

Meditat. XXI.

Before I begin to write, I know I have more cause to Write in blood, or tears, then in ink; Can a Mother forget her Child? It is not, Can a Child forget the Mother? nor is it, Can a Mother her Child, if the Child forget her? or, Can there be any case wherein the Mo­ther can forget her Child? Lord, do thou awaken my heart for it is [Page 137] a sleep; Lord, do thou raise mine heart, for it is dead; Do thou thaw my heart, for it is frozen; Lord, thou art that Celestial fire that en­flames all thine Angels with love, I have no way but to come before thy presence in hope that at the last shall be thawed, if not inflamed, thou wilt not put out the smoaking snuff of a Candle, I am such an one, enlightned and enflamed, though now I send forth nothing but an unsavoury stench: What, shall I stand imperfect as I am thus speak­ing, what I may, and what I have to lay, to my God, Lord. Thou hast commanded in thy Word, that if an Adulterer defile a Woman, and she cry not out, then he shall be put to death: Lord, Infidelity, Hypocri­sie, and Vain-glory are come to undo me, to defile my Soul, and they have almost perswaded my Soul not to cry out; To be ravish­ed is a great affliction, but to [Page 138] embrace the Adulterer is an abo­mination.

If I cry to Men for succour, if I go to Ordinances, Alas the A­dulterer is a strong Man, he hath locked the Doors of my Soul, and none can break them open but thou only: Lord, do not thou stand knocking at the Door of my heart, for the strong man will not, and I am kept so fast by my corruptions, I cannot come to let thee in; Lord, break open the Doors, and come in to help me before I am utter­ly undone, as it was with the Levites Concubine, so will it be with my poor Soul, Corruption after Corruption, and Sinne after Sinne, will so abuse her, that she will be at last dead: Alas! me thinks I look upon my poor Soul as one looks upon a Ship tossed among Rocks in the Seas, one sees it, and pities it, but knows not how to help it; there comes a [Page 139] Wave, and carries it with violence amongst the mid'st of the Rocks, and makes it reel and stagger like a drunken Man, and then all in the Ship are fain to pump and toil to save their lives, at last it was dasht in pieces, and all fain to get upon broken pieces of the Ship to swim to the shore, if it may be: My Soul is even labouring for life; Lord, what wilt thou do? wilt thou be as a Man astonish't, and as a Mighty Man that cannot help? then I am undone, then I may say if thou wilt not, then farewel all my Duties, farewel all my Graces, and all my Comforts which I have had in the dear embraces of my God: Ah, must I not pray but with my Tongue? Mast I have no more Comforts but what poor Creatures can give me? Lord, if I must pe­rish, let me perish in thy way, let me convert many unto thee; Though I know my Damnation shall be grea­ter [Page 140] if I perish for living so contra­ry to mine owne Doctrine: Lord, I am a poor Miserable Man, and a more Miserable Christian, thou art, I cannot possibly imagine what, but I hope Lord, I shall know; these dayes of ignorance and sin will not alwayes last: when my change comes, I shall nomore sin and repent, and repent, and sin, as I do now: Oh my corruptions I hope one day I shall leave you all in the Grave behind me; The day is coming, when while I am praising God you shall not come and lie as a Talent of Lead upon my Soul; and hinder my flight, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, Come while my Soul is filled with joy to think of thy coming; O my God, thou art enough for me, for my Soul can hold no more; Lord, I am a­fraid of the joyes sometimes I have to think of thee, Tears for my sins are fitter for me then tears of joy, [Page 141] yet I dare not refuse them, nay, I cannot if I would, they are so sweet, so sweet; Heaven is but a greater Measure of them; Lord, thou art enough, enough for them that love thee.

Meditat. XXII.

To see a dead Man arrayed with all the Richest Clothes, still there is more horrour to behold him then delight; So my poor Soul looks gashly in all the Duties I perform, I have a cold and dead soul for all them, and more terrour there is in the deadness then there is comfort in the Multitude of them, this I know by experience; yet Christ is not sweet unto me, My dear Saviour, to whom I was so dear: Lord Jesus give me a heart that may feel thy sweetness, I am convinced that thou art so, but my poor heart hath not enough tasted the sweetness of this Truth, That [Page 142] all things are Dross and Dung in comparison of Christ: Lord here is Mine Estate, Mine Health, My Life, My Liberty, and all that I have, and had I more, I would free­ly give all; give but such a heart as I desire, and the same will I conse­crate unto thee in Spiritual af­fections all my dayes: now I think thus with my self, When I was most desirous of, and addicted to Hu­mane Learning, it was wonderful delightful to me to be instructed in some new truth, or to have some diffi­cult question clearly resolved; To read the Mathematicks was won­derful delightful, because they prove such strange things, then I have recourse to the Word of God, and by that I am assured that all the Treasures of Wisdom and know­ledge are hid in Christ, and in his Gospel, then further I have re­course to the experience of the peo­ple of God in the Word of God, [Page 143] and in particular to Paul, who be­ing a Learned Man, yet accounted all things as Dross and Dung in comparison of Christ; I have also recourse to the experience of seve­ral godly persons I know, of the a­bundant sweetness, and excellency of the knowledge of Christ, there­fore Lord though I have not at this present the power and ravishing feelings of Christs Excellency, yet assuring my self all these wayes whereby I fully do assent to that truth, That it is life eternal to know thee, and Jesus Christ: I do beseech thee, O Lord to give me a fuller knowledge of thee in Christ; I beseech thee, I beseech thee, Let not my undervaluing of this know­ledge cause thee to deny it, I shall more value it, if I had more of it: Lord, I know if thou shouldest look in me and my life, to see what thou canst find to hinder the grant­ing of this request, thou maist find [Page 144] enough; nay, I that know my self not so well as thou dost, know e­nough, and enough, nay, I know nothing to move thee in my self, except something I have had from thee, those things I have so abused, that I know they may be swift wit­nesses against me: But Lord, if thou shouldest give me this know­ledge of them, I might do great things for thee; Lord hear me: Alas, Lord, my desires to know Christ do even die, while I am pray­ing to know him; Alas, Lord, such an heart as I have is fit for none but thee, for none in the world can tell what to do with it, but thou on­ly; It is past the skill of all in Hea­ven and Earth but thee, it is not in the power of Ordinances and Duties, if thou shouldst not set in.

I would pity the Soul of my greatest Enemy, if I should see it in such continual storms & troubles as are in mine, there are new corrup­tions [Page 145] appear, such as I may term them nothing so fitly as sparks of of the fire of Hell, to have ones heart rise against God, when the continual desire of ones soul and prayer is, that one might be infla­med with the love of God; Lord, while I am working my heart to a serious thought of thee, endeavour­ing to have my heart full of admi­ration of thee, and affiance in thee, before I pray unto thee, that if it may be my prayers may be as an Arrow drawn up to the head, but when I go about to pray, and send up my petitions, my thoughts of thy Glory and Goodness slack, and it fares with me, oh my Soul, as sometimes it doth with one that is tying knots, when one hath pul­led the first very hard, yet it slacks before one can tye the second; it I keep but a strict communion with thee, and did as thou desirest, (Lord, why shouldest thou desire [Page 146] us alwayes to be with thee, how should we be acquainted with thee far more then we are, and if we knew thee more, how shoould we love thee more; and if we loved thee more, how should we know thee more? For thou revealest thy self to them that love thee; Alas! O my Soul, why should not we alwayes be with God▪ since he gives us leave? How gracious art thou to invite such sinners as we are to come to thee! For thee to wash our souls clean with the Immaculate blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; Alas, Lord, I am Mine own enemy, nay, I see it and know it, and it cannot be otherwise: Lord, I am so tired out with my corruptions, that I am even weary of my life, and al­most weary of my Duties; Lord, even at this present, how when my [...]oul was so troubled that mine [...] were ready to weep, there [...] a thought of a poore [Page 147] worldly business into my Soul, and my thoughts and sorrows for hea­venly Matters are gone!

Meditat. XXIII.

O my God, how coldly without love, how doubtingly without faith do I call thee my God! Lord, how careless am I in thy service? how very careless? How long Lord, holy and true, shall I be thus laden with corruptions? Nay, which is my greatest Misery, I am not but very little sensible of my own vile­ness, that makes me that I do not hunger after righteousness. Bles­sed Lord, I do humbly prostrate my Soul before thee, and do with all the weak power of my soul im­portune the Merits of my dear Sa­viour; I pray thee to look upon me in Mercy: When the poor wound­ed Man that went from Jerusalem to Jericho, lay half dead, and speech­less in the way, though he was not [Page 148] sensible of his Misery, yet the good Samaritan was; though in his Tongue did not, could not, call for pity, yet his wounds opened their Mouthes wide, and spake a­loud to the Samaritan, Though his eyes shed no tears, yet his heart wept blood at his wounds, and mov'd com­passion. Like to that poor wounded Man I am, so weak, so sick that I am scarce sensible of mine own des­perate condition; Lord, though my heart be not full of love, it is full of wounds; Lord, thou know­est my Miseries, I humbly beseech thee to pity me, not according to my Prayers, but according to My Wants. Lord, that I do not desire to serve thee, that I do not hunger nor thirst after righteousness, it is the greatest Misery that I have.

Meditat. XXIV.

Oh how terrible is the thought of Death to me, is it not so much [Page 149] for want of Faith as holiness, and indeed I find that I can never with comfort think on death, but when I have liv'd very holily before, for what will Faith in that case help Me, without holiness? for Faith without holiness, is not faith but presumption: Oh how sweet! how dear! how excellent a thing is ho­liness? Oh how full of peace and joy is my Soul, when I am full of that? and yet Lord, how careless am I of thy service? how many times in the day when I might think of thee without any hin­drance of My Studies, do I choose rather to think of vanity? O wean my Soul, O God, from every thing that is not thee. Fill my heart with thy self, dwell in me, my dear God! Why do I call thee dear? when I prefer every trifle before thee, O most glorious Lord God, whom ten thousand Worlds cannot suf­ficiently praise, nor love, which [Page 150] art thy self, and canst be no more, nor canst be no less; how easie Lord, is it for thee to change My Heart, Mine heart of Stone for an Heart of Flesh: Lord, as long as I have this heart of stone, there is no hope that I should serve thee with any chearfulness, or any constancy; Lord, hear my prayer.

Meditat. XXV.

O blessed God, if the way of thy Providence be such, that thou wilt not give so much Grace as to make me, through the abundance of it, almost whether I will or no, to serve thee, yet to whom thou dost give so much grace as to desire more grace, O let not this desire which is of thy own infusing; be in vain, if there be any thing in the whole world that I desire more then thy grace, then let me want grace to desire it any more; Lord, if the reason why thou deniest [Page 151] my prayer, be, because I do not de­sire as I ought, I humbly beseech thee to grant that I ask aright; a­las my afflictions lie heavier on me then ever they did, and I am more wicked, or at least less holy then e­ver since my conversion I was; how little am I affected with any thing that belongs to thy service, nor yet doth it affect me that I am not affected: Lord, if there were any in heaven or in earth that could help me besides thee, then consider­ing my Manifold Sins, I should; I but Lord, I would not, thy Mer­cies are so great, go to any other: Now Lord, now is the time to have Mercy upon me; I am like the Man that went from Jerusalem to Jericho, wounded, naked, and half dead, I cannot call for help, O let my wounds move thee to compassion; if I could bewail my sinful Misery with tears of Repent­ance, I know thou wouldest [Page 152] deliver me, but I cannot weep, nay, hardly mourn; Oh saint, faint is my grief, and cold is my love? What wilt thou do, Lord, with one that scarcely from his heart desires to serve thee: Alas, what canst thou do for me more or less, then to make me desire to serve thee! Accept I must, or for e­ver be lost: What a low degree of goodness am I come unto? a soul full of sadness, and empty of good­ness; To morrow, Lord, I am to receive thee into my Soul, thee my blessed Saviour: Lord, thou know­est I did not use to have a heart so empty of goodness, when I expe­cted thee to come next day.

Meditat. XXVI.

Lord, now I do resolve to serve thee, and in this particular espe­cially; I will not speak evil of any man what injury soever he doth me, Now I will so watch over my words, that I will not offend with [Page 153] my Tongue, And that by degrees I may attain some perfection herein, I here vow every week between this and the next Communion to keep one day so strictly, that I will not, during that day, speak so much as one idle word that day, if I do, I will give to the poor. Lord, how excellent is thy service? so pure, so sweet; O that there were such a heart in me, that I might for ever serve thee.

Meditat. XXVII.

When I read the Story of the Martyrs, I do wish that I had li­ved in those dayes, that I might also die as they did; or methinks I could now willingly lay down my life, rather then yield to the abo­minable Idolatry, and Superstitions of the Sea of Rome; but when I search & try my heart, I much fear that the reason of this my de­sire is, because I think it easier to lay down my life for Christs sake, [Page 154] then for his sake to overcome my corruptions; for it being but one act, though it hath more pain, yet being but of small continuance, it is less trouble, then all my life long to fight against sin; and thus I do ill even in my best wishes, in divers respects; For I chose Mar­tyrdom, not because thereby I might more honour God, but that I might the sooner and easier come to heaven; And again, that I think I might content my self though I did not so much hate cor­ruption, if I died a Martyr, all would be well; whereas Though I give my body to be burnt, and have not Charity, it would profit nothing, and to love God, it is impossible for him that doth not hate, and fight against his corruptions: Alas, O my Soul, how weary are we of our Spiritual Fight, and we would fain find some other way to Heaven, then by the continu­ance [Page 155] of it; O that I were dead to the World? yet while we know something better, we shal not think so; We talk much of the Vanity of the World, but who believes that the World is Vanity and vex­ation of Spirit? Or who is sensible of this Truth? Or if he were sen­sible of it, and sometimes affected with it, yet it soon wanisheth, and we do not live accordingly, How much easier is it to speak like an Angel, then live like a Saints!

Meditat. XXVIII.

Lord, that thou wouldest do it for me take my Soul and my Body, what shall I do with them any longer? I govern them so ill, and indeed am so unable to govern them, that they govern me; Lord, if thou shalt condemn me at the last Day, I do now ju­stifie thee, and testifie to all the [Page 156] world that thou art just, though then (if such a time shall come) I shall blaspheme thee; My dear God, I have yet a spark of thy love, I will not leave that small hold of thee for ten thousand Worlds; I know, Lord, there is no dallying with thee: What if I spoke with the Tongue, and writ with the Pen of Men and Angels? it is nothing; Lord, take a poor soul at his word, Lord, I am thine, and do now give my self, and ten thousand Worlds if I had them, to thee; yet when thou dost take from me some poor part of my Estate, I murmure; Alas, I have a poor weak heart.

Meditat. XXIX.

Lord, my knowledge of thee is but small, and that which is, is but little Spiritual or Experimental; To know thee by what others write and say of thee, is sweet to them that can set their Seal to it [Page 157] from their own experience; Lord, what is it that hath kept me so long from thee, or kept thee so long from me? I know that I have been wanting to thee, and to my self; Lord, take my heart, I have too much love for any besides thee; though I have too little for thee: Oh how sweet are the thoughts of thee, and would be sweeter, if I thought oftner, and longer, and more attentively of thee: Alas, I am almost grown out of acquaint­ance with thee; I do not perceive my corruptions in any thing more then in this, that though to think of thee be a thing so easie and so profitable, yet I think so seldom: My dear God, deliver me from the business of the World, Suits of Law, and such things, they undo me, they take up my thoughts that I cannot be rid of them, I feel upon me the curse which thou threatnest upon the people [Page 158] of Israel, If they would not serve thee with joy, they should serve stran­gers with a great deal of hardship: I was well while I was with thee, then I had my Songs in the night, now my dayes are turned into the shadow of Death: Lord, draw me, draw me, make the cords of thy love stronger, or rather then I should perish, make the cords of thine afflictions stronger, and if I murmure, scourge me while I leave murmuring; How true do I finde that saying, He that injures, for­gives not; My wickedness I have committed against thee, makes me not able to believe almost that thou art, or canst be reconciled unto me: When I should do more for thee, and less against thee, I shall easilier believe thy loves, or ra­ther when thy Spirit shall shed abroad thy love in my heart; I shall know thou lovest me, I sigh and Mourn, and Weep over my [Page 159] poor Soul, but cannot help it: Dear Lord, Let My Tears pre­vail with thee; Pity, pity, have pity upon a poor languishing Soul that is even gasping out his last breath; It grieves me to see what a sad condition I am in, I am not yet in Hell, and by thy Mercy I may never come thither, but I am running thither; Wo is me that I am constrained to live in Mesech, and to have my habitation in the Tents of Kedar.

Meditat. XXX.

Lord, I pray for Mercies, and when I have them, to see the un­suitableness of my Spirit to them, and mine unthankfulness for them, brings more sadness upon me then to want them; All the things I begged of thee for temporal Mer­cies, both in carrying me forth and bringing me home, and concern­ing my business I went about [Page 163] not finding things in such a sad condition at home, yet my poor heart is the same still, and is as hard, and as stony, not willing to yield it self, and all up to thee, as if I were more able to order matters then thou. Now my heart is sub­ject to murmure that it is so hard when it should mourn: Lord thou hast done enough to justifie thy love, and thy tender compassions to me, if thou shouldest never do more, and not only thy justice could not be blamed, but not thy Mercy.

Medit. XXXI.

Accept of my poor prayers and when at the last day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be known, the hypocrisie and cold—and my Desires shall be known, and thy goodness shall be admired in hearing such prayers as mine are: For the light of thy Counte­nance to shine upon, and the Breathings of thy Spirit to blow [Page 161] upon a Garden of Spices, is not so much for the advancement of thy Free grace, as for thee to shine upon, and thy Spirit to breath upon such a Dunghil as I am, that sends forth such unisome sa­vours as I do: Lord, if thou wilt be my God, I have a body and a soul, I will give thee them; 'Tis true, they are thine already, but alas, if I had any thing to give that were not thine, I would; but I have not.

Meditat. XXXII.

Lord, I wait to see the day of my Salvation, and the hour when thou wilt shew me thy loves, and when I shall lie in thy bosome and arms and hear the beatings of thy heart in love, and the sound­ings of thy bowels towards me, and know thy everlasting thoughts of love to me, when thou shalt seal the pardon of my sinnes to me, and make me read thee Coun­terpain [Page 162] of the Covenant of love be­tween thee and me, which thou reservest in Heaven, and is fair and not blotted as mine is, and when shall the day of the love and joyes of my Espousals return, and my thoughts be swallowed up in love! Lord, why shouldest thou with-hold thy love, the Manife­stations of thy love? Can thy love be concealed from thy Beloved? I will wait for the Discoveries of thy love, I am loth to do any thing before thou comest whom my soul loveth, for fear thou shouldest come when I am not looking for thee, and thou escapest me. I look every Prayer to see thee come leap­ing on the Mountains, and skipping upon the Hills, as a Row or an Hinde; But I see thee not, Why dost thou put a Spark of Love into my heart; If thou wilt leave me, why didst thou cast thy Mantle upon me, and when I [Page 163] low after thee, say, what hast thou done? thy loves are better then Wine, sweeter then honey, even more to be desired then life it self; Lord, if the small Sparks and relishes of thy Love be so sweet to me, what will the feeding on this heavenly Manna be? If a drop of thy love be so sweet? what will the overflow­ing be? If thy smiles bring so much joy, what will thy embra­ces do? Lord, I long till I am un­done with thy love; All my car­nal and Worldly Joyes undone. Lord, it is not my unworthiness that should hinder me, nor will hinder me from bestowing; Lord, help my unbelief; VVell Lord, if I must walk in darkness and see no light, yet give me thy Grace that I may stay my self upon my God, My life is but short, and when the hour of my de­parture shall come, then I shall enjoy him whom my Soul loveth, [Page 164] and know as I am known; then I shall forget the sorrows, pains and throws of my travel, for the joy that shall be revealed. My Bride saith come, and the Spirit saith Come: Come Lord Jesus, Come quickly.

Meditat. XXIII.

I wait for the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, if thy love be as fire in straw, or such like mat­ter, lie smoaking, and makes ones eyes weep while one strives to find the fire; at last it being able to hold no longer, breaks forth into a great flame; and the longer it is before it discovers it self, the great­ter is the flame and light when they do break forth: Lord, whil [...]st I am looking for thy love, thou makest me weary, let the length of thy stay be made up by the fulness of thy Presence, and Greatness of thy Manifestations when thou comest; I seek thee in my Prayers, [Page 165] and I say, O where art thou whom my soul loveth, and yet thou send­est me away weeping and mourn­ing: I seek on my bed when I a­wake in the night, but I find thee not; I speak with those which have found thee, and they tell me, nay; I know it by thy word, that thou art near to every soul that seeks thee; and when a poor soul cries, thou wilt answer it, then I multi­ply my prayers, and call lowder, and yet my prayers are as the wind that passeth away, and returns no more; O my Lord and my God, thy love was strong enough to suffer, and thou didst suffer, and thou didst die, that thou mightest make known and commend thy love unto the Sons of Men, and now thou hast done all this to manifest thy love, and wilt thou hide it from me? Creature-love hath wrought strange in me, I have never been weary of their discourses and hu­mane [Page 166] learning, how hath it made me ravisht with some learned say­ing: and if thou wouldest discover thy love, and shed that abroad in my heart, certainly it would work wonders: For the Creatures flames of love are but as a blaze that straw makes, but is soon out, it hath not substance enough to nou­rish and maintain what it begets; For Creature-Excellencies are not strong enough to keep up the de­light we take in them; but thou Lord art love, and thou art such a treasure of excellencies that the poor soul makes new discoveries of those treasures every day. To all Eternity thou art enough to keep alive and in full strength all the love and joys, and praises of Saints and Angels. Lord, thou art enough to answer thine own love, but what am I that I should speak of thee? thou art so glorious that I am afraid to speak of thee.

Meditat. XXXIV.

Lord I call, and thou dost not answer, I am even tired out if thou dost not support, I sink under the burden, I long and look to see thy beauty, but I cannot behold nor perceive one glympse: that thou art excellent, I see by the eye of faith, but excellencies do not affect me: All my prayers are turned un­to this, Lord shew me Christ, and him whom my soul loveth, for I have heard of him, and the same of his excellencies have come unto me, yet mine eyes have not seen him; I think with my self, Surely Christ manifesting himself, and to be filled with all the fulness of God, and to have a conversation in Heaven, must needs signifie more then ever I have experienced in my self; For such poor things as I have found wrought in my soul cannot fill up those expressions, [Page 168] Then I hear of those whose lives are spiritual and Christ-like, not glorious in out ward mortifications. Thou art blameless that way spea­king of such things which God hath wrought for them and in them, which I have not found, but are the very same things which are in my view, and I follow after to attain but cannot: Then from their relation of the Lords dealings with them I perceive that God did hum­ble them more before he did dis­cover himself unto them then ever he hath as yet humbled me, so that I find no rest day nor night in my spirit, and yet though I am thus restless in seeking after something which I cannot know what is it I seek for, I cannot discern any true, sincere, constant love to Christ. He neither lets me know that he lovesme, nor that I love him, so that I stand amazed, and know not [Page 169] what to do, and still by the help of God I will not cease to cry and call upon him for whom my soul I doubt not but would love, if he discover his beauties and love unto me, and work them on my heart: I seek for one, who I cannot tell who he is before I find him, then I shall know, and shall tell to all who he is, and set forth his ex­cellencies, though they shall as lit­tle understand me, a I do them, who declare the things that God hath wrought for them.

Medit. XXXV.

There is not such an one in the world as I am that I know; Pub­licans and harlots, I justifie them; I in the midst of ordinanees and mercies, in the midst of the flames of love, nay, when thou layest on me that affliction that is now fresh bleeding in mine eyes, or rather [Page 170] despised and forgotten, I should have learnt obedience by things I suffered, and I have done as if I were to learn to sin by them; Thou hast chastised me with rods, and I have put the sting of sin in­to them, and have made them scor­pions; Thou sendest them for An­tidotes, and I have turned them into poyson; Lord, teach me what it is wherein thou art so offended, to leave me thus: Lord, I believe thou hast pardoned me, but small is my comfort, when thou par­donest sin, but subduest it not.

Meditat. XXXVI.

Lord, I do so evidently find my self unable to judge of truths, or to resist temptations, that I al­most, nay altogether lye at the mer­cy of every temptation, and to be carried about with the wind of e­very vain doctrine, if thou dost not stand by me: what should I tell thee the secret puddle of my heart? [Page 171] I am weary of the stench and fil­thiness of it; there is not a pray­er but they meet me at it, and lye as a talent of lead upon me: if my heart were all on fire with thy love, these things could not be: I sometimes have thoughts rising in my heart that are wicked, proud, and foolish thoughts; I begin to be offended, that I begging for the manifestations of thy love, yet have them not; but those thoughts no sooner begin to arise, but I consider what am I that thou shouldest give me thy love! sand how can I expect the manifestations of thy love when I will not give thee my love, but let it run wast upon the creature? How many times do I chuse to do anything rather then spend my time in Meditation and Prayer, nay to do nothing and be idle; for al­though thou lovest us first, yet thou dost not usually discover thy thoughts of love to a Soul, be­fore she hath made over her love [Page 172] and her self unto thee; then I think thou canst by the power of thy Spi­rit bring in my heart, my Soul, and my love, and that usually ere thou dost ravish the soul with the disco­veries of thy love: this I know, and let all the world know it, that whatsoever wicked thoughts do arise in my weak heart, which I cannot answer, I know that all thy wayes are holy, just, and good; Lord, what shall I give for the sheddings abroad of love in my heart? that which should be given for it, were it at the utmost parts of the world, I could fetch it thence. But Lord, the price of it already paid, 'tis near unto thee, even at thy right hand, O thou most High, he hath paid for this Mercy by his blood long ago, and my Prayers thou requirest, not as a price: Lord, fill me with these Spiritual Supplica­tions, that I may give thee no rest, nor take any rest my self, until I have found him whom my soul lo­veth? [Page 173] Come Lord Jesus, Come quickly.

Meditat. XXXVII.

O Lord, beat me, and drive me with storms and Tempests, I am come unto thee like the Prodigal Son, for all but that which most of all I should have, a Spiritual Sorrow, ragged, and tatter'd, and undone; My Sins and Misery are like his, not my sorrow; For me to see my self languishing, my Graces daily grow weaker, my love colder, and even almost to be speechless in prayer; Alas, the Sorrow that I have is rather be­wailing my Misery then my Sin; I know not what it is Lord, but thou dost; Sure I am, my conditi­on is sad, and I am sad, and my sadness is all the poor remains of Comfort that I have; and yet I no sooner begin to take any comfort in my grief, but I perceive so much hypocrisie in my Grief, that the [Page 174] poor Spark of Comfort that I have is put out; Alas, Tears of Blood were fitter for me then dry eyes; O Lord, must every trifle steal a­way my heart from thee? Thine Excellencies are too high for me, Wisdom is too high for Fools: O that thou wouldest take me out of my own hands, and deliver me from my self; and howsoever my heart is not importunate enough now, I shall thank and praise thee to all Eternity, if thou wilt make me thine; Thou hast done as much to draw me with the Cords of love, e­ven to wonder: Lord, do thou snatch me as a Fire brand out of the fir [...]: if thou shouldst stay till I am wil­ling without thy making me so, I am lost: For I shall never part with these painted Vanities, for all the glory in heaven, except thou givest me the eye of Faith to see it, and a Spiritual palat to relish it.

Meditat. XXXVIII.

O Lord, wilt thou let a poor sinner lie gasping out his last breath at thy feet, and die in thine arms: I have aboundance of love for the world, O that thou hadst it all: I am sure I am not, and shall never be at quiet, untill thou hast it; nor would I sleep until I am in thine arms of love; My dearest God, how comes it to pass that my heart cannot give it self to whom it will? Had I a thousand worlds, I would give all for thee, that I might be thine; O my soul, why should we stand consulting and contriving what to do? God is ten thousand times more then all things; Why should we weigh a Talent of Lead and a Feather to­gether to see which is heaviest: O Lord, My soul hath chosen thee long ago, I have abundance of ex­perience of the Truth of those things which I have believed: I [Page 176] am thine, and thou art my God; Thou hast chosen me, and I have chosen thee; Is I should be so vain at any time as to leave thee, thou art the same, and thy choice fails not; Thou Lord which mad'st me chuse thee, whilest I had no ex­perience of thy love, wilt make me continue my choice. Lord, that any one should choose hell befor [...] thee! It makes thee not to be less glorious; Lord, must my Blasphe­mies praise thee? I find so much hell in my heart, that it is not trou­bled in any proportionable Mea­sure, that there is so much hell in it. When I set apart an hour for Me­ditation and Prayer, then I kept my heart somewhat close; But at other times, I am little careful to improve what I read or hear to en­flame my heart; I had better not set an hour apart, and give thee all the day by thinking alwayes of thee; Lord, I do now acknow­ledge; [Page 177] for then I shall not, but if thou shouldest leave me, I should be too much given to blaspheme thee; Nay bl [...]ssed God, let that never be; Lord it shall never be: When I consider the desperate hy­pocrisie of my heart, I may every Morning expect that thou shouldst give me up to a r [...]probate sense, to commit sin with greediness; when I think of these things, I pour out my soul within me: To think with my self, I shall lose my Estate, a little troubles me, to think I shall lose such a friend, it affects me more, but to think I shall lose my God, and become an Apostate, that's a hell unto me; I have beg­ged of thee, as for my life, that thou wouldest not leave me, and now I beg, O forsake me not utterly; To have such a heart, that will neither inflame my words, nor be inflamed by them, is that which hath not been so; Lord, except thou wilt [Page 178] follow one, that will not stay when thou callest, and overtake one that runs from thee when thou followest, I am lost: Well, I am sure my froward and care­less carriage will justifie thy ju­stice if thou condemn me, and mag­nifie thy Mercy, if thou savest me.

Meditat. XXXIX.

Lord, this day is thine own, and by being thine, is the more mine, I must now burn without coals about me; The time hath been, when if I had been cold and dull, the So­ciety, Expr [...]ssions, and Examples of others in dayes set apart to thee, would have in [...]lamed me; Now the company I have is water and snow; Wo is me that I am con­strained to have my habitation in the Tents of Kedar, and yet Lord, thou art never wanting; Thou sendest forth thy beams of light and heat, if I bring not Clouds over mine [Page 179] own head, I may have enough light from thee; Lord, when will these dayes of sin be ended, and the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord come? I come into thy presence, but when I am come, I am silent and deaf, neither able to speak to thee, nor hear the sweet whisperings of thy Spirit; O that I had a heart to give my self unto thee, or that thou wouldest take these poor longings of my Soul for a Gift, and thereupon take possession of my Soul, My dayes of leaping for joy to think of thee are gone, and now my dayes of sorrow to see mine own vileness are come; My tears are now my Meat and Drink, O that I had more of them, so they were more Spiritual; I am a poor creature, but thou art the rich God. My poor heart, why dost thou not speak? why art thou silent? what saist thou? Is not God a good God? what relish or [Page 180] sweetness is there in these words, if thou dost not set to thy seal, Lord, to thy glory, though not to my comfort be it spoken, Thou hast been a good God to me, but I have no comfort from this truth, if I never relish it; yet if mine heart will be so wicked and vile, and base, as not to acknowledge it, yet my hand shall write that which shall witness for my God, against my self; Thou art good, patient, and Merciful unto me, enough to make earth and heaven to wonder at thy goodness, and my vileness: Ah my God, my God, must my words go beyond my thoughts of love to thee? Lord, thou art enough for heaven, enough for thy self, and art thou not e­nough for me? Try O my Soul, try, thou wilt never trust before thou knowest this by experience; thou knowest abundantly that the creature hath told thee, It is not [Page 181] in me, this thou knowest by expe­rience, and by faith thou know­est it is in God; Well then, lay all thy weight and strength upon him, and none upon the Creature; Hold upon him with both hands, or else thou wilt attribute the greatest failing unto God; For as he that stands upon never so strong a place, if he lean against a rotten wall he shall fall, and one that is asleep, when he falls, will not know whe­ther fail'd him, and so if we do but lean to our own wisdom, we shall happily think that God fails; Lord, I wait, I long for thine appearance; Thou art enough Lord, I know not what to say, I am undone with­out thee; Lord, I hear the poor fly, oh how it flies up and down; Now it is warmed and revived with the warmth of the Sun; ye­sterday it lay still as dead; surely Lord, if thou wilt shine upon my Soul, I should be active and chear­ful [Page 182] in thy service: No marvel hea­ven is so full of thy praises, when thou communicatest thy self so ful­ly to them; The Crumbs that fall from thy Table are too much for me, these temporal blessings are more then I can challenge, yet Lord, I cannot be content with them, give me thy self, and it suf­ficeth, for all is nothing and shares without thee.

Meditat. XL.

Alas my God, Pride and Despair divide my life. When I find any thing I do in some manner as I should, I begin to be pust up, and think, that I do more then some o­thers of Gods people; and when I look upon my failings, these thoughts begin to arise, It is in vain, I shall never overcome such corruptions, My Sinnes doe me more harm by discouraging me, then in the commission.

Meditat. XLI.

Lord, There is no peace until thou hast all our love, while our heart is divided between the world and thee, we can have no quiet, Natural conscience draws one way, and Natural Corruptions another way: It is our ignorance that makes us think that there is not enough in thee to satisfie all our desires, and supply our wants, which makes us joyn the Creature with thee: When Lord, when shall all my thoughts be of thee? I am weary of being thus divided; Lord, if I can dispose of my self, I give my self wholly to thee; O refuse not that gift which thou hast so often desired, thou hast said, give me thy heart, Lord, my heart longs whilest thou hast it: If thou saist that I do not give my self freely and wholly enough, alas, nor never shall until thou take my heart, and discoverest the secrets of thy love unto me; [Page 184] when thou dost that I shall run after thee; Lord, he [...]e's my poor soul, it lies at thy feet, groveling and gasping for life; the Creature hath left me, and I have left the crea­ture, and would not that it should have any more of my love, but it still woes me, and follows me for my love, unless thou overcomest these strong corruptions, I shall never be at quiet.

Meditat. XLII.

Sometimes my heart begins to be fill'd with joy, so that I am rea­dy to cry out, Thou art mine ex­ceeding joy, and then I consider what I shall do, for I am afraid that my joy is false, When I consider how I came by it; whether my prayers have been more servent and frequent of late, or my repentance more profound: in the midst of this consideration, I can hardly say but think with my self, VVhy should I delay or refrain my enjoyment of [Page 185] God? and am ready to say within my self, The false joyes in God are better then the true joyes of the world; these joyes are too sweet to let go; Lord Jesus when thou kissest me with the kisses of thy mouth, I will kiss the Son lest he be angry; Lord, thou art too good for me, if I may say so; how could I ever expect that thou shouldest come near me more? the poor love I have, makes me say a thousand worlds, and a thousand heavens for my God; the small beams of the light of thy counte­nance are so sweet; Lord, if thou wouldest but continue the joyes thou sometimes affordest, I had e­nough; I need not the comforts of the world to make it up, nor fear the afflictions of the world: though one need continual supplies comforts to support one, yet they could not spend them.

Meditat. XLIII.

I will go to God, saith David, he is mine exceeding joy: a sweet saying! O that there were such a heart in me; yet I have an un [...]n­flamed heart, a frozen heart: if I leave all things and my self, I should find thee, but these poor joyes of the world quench the joys of the Spirit, I shut out the glori­ous beams of thy heat and light, and light up the Candles of the Creatures, which have neither heat nor light in comparison of thine; When I go about to re­joyce in thee, My sins come and tell me that they must be mourned for first: Any thing, Lord, any thing, so that I may do what is pleasing in thy sight; I am willing to stay for my joyes while thou art pleased to give them; Only I beseech and de­sire these three things of thee.

1. That I may not want grace, though I want joyes.

[Page 187] 2. That I may not go about to make up the want of thy joyes with carnal joyes: let me not kindle a fire, & walk and rejoyce in the light and sparks of what I have kindled, &c.

3. That though thou hast kin­dled joy, yet that I may have sor­rows that are Spiritual: Lord, how abundantly good art thou to them that love thee! I lie under the weight of thy love and thy joy, when I come hungry and thirsty to [...] to be satisfied with thy joy to [...] lie now as a ship upon [...], while the Tide of thy [...] and lift me up, and carry me into the Ocean of thy goodness. When Mary Magdalen stood weeping at the Sepulchre, thou didst call her by her name, and she forgot all her sorrows, she left her tears, the Sepulchre, and the A [...]gel, and cried out Rabboni. My heart makes me believe that I would give the whole world to see [Page 188] Jesus Christ, for I think if I could see him I should lie down at his feet, and beg his grace, and he would not deny me; This is part of my weakness and want of faith, for he hears my prayers as fully, and is as willing to grant them now he is in Heaven, as if he were on earth; Lord Jesus, thou that never did'st deny any poor soul that came to thee for grace and pardon, thou never sendest them empty away, but grantest their request, Have mercy upon me, O Lord, my need and wants are as many, and as great as many, and as great as any of them all; and if my sense of my mi­sery be not so great, my misery is so much the greater.

Meditat. XLIV.

Lord, I perceive that spiritual sorrows and spiritual joys are whol­ly thy work, for my sins are as many, as great, and of as deep a dye as any in the world, that is not the sin [Page 189] against the holy Ghost, and I am fully and sensibly convinced of it that they are so, and yet I am as senceless as if my condition were quite hopeless; for were it not so, could I possibly be so feared as I am? Thou hast said, I will take a­way the stony heart, Lord, if thou wilt work, who or what can hin­der? My corruptions and my sins have, and do harden my heart by having and committing them, nor will they soften it by considering them; What hinders thee from ta­king away the infidelity and stoni­ness of my heart? If that hardness and infidelity doth, why that is the thing to be cured: If I were not sick I need not a Physitian: Lord, I say not this to justifie my self, for it is thou of thy free grace that must justifie me; for I am lost: And so for Joyes and Comforts, though I read and hear of the Comforts that thou pourest [Page 190] out on others, I am not moved; nay, those very Stories and sayings which have formerly inflamed me, now are as sparks falling into the Sea, warm not at all: alas, when I shall meet thee at the last day, thy Mercies they shall testifie a­gainst me, when they shall witness my sleightings of them, my fruit­lesness under them, and unthank­fulness for them: What can I say, Alas, my poor soul, we are undone; but that day is not come yet, one hour more the Lord it may be will give me, Come Lord Jesus, Come quickly, Come into my poor soul, for I am afraid to meet thee at the Tribunal of thy Judgement: If thou wert on the Earth, me­thinks I could go with confidence to thee that thou wouldest hear me, but now thou art in heaven I cannot; Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet believe: Lord, I have received double for all my sins [Page 191] in respect of any profit or plea­sure I have had by them: I have had full measure, prest down, and running over; but alas, my vexation of Spirit is more gall then all the pleasures that I have had, that have been worldly. The loss and want of the discoveries of thy love, cannot be recompensed with all that the world hath; thy loves are better then wine. Indeed in respect of the offence to thee, every prayer deserves hell.

Meditat. XLV.

Lord, I am as afraid of Comforts as of terrours, for when I have comforts I am subject to pride my self in them, and instead of having sweet thoughts of thee, have high thoughts of my self; Afflictions breed sorrow, and comforts pride; Sorrow is better then pride. My preaching is my temptation, and and my accuser; If I preach not the strictest wayes of God, my neg­ligence [Page 192] condemns me; and if I do­my Sermons condemn me; For my life is hell, I am afraid of publish­ing something I have by the help of thy Spirit written, left my life should do no more harm by scan­dal, then the writings should do good by directing to holiness, and yet sometimes I think that if I publish and own such writings, they would be a strong Engagement to live more holily: But I have some­thing against that also; for that Motive would in short time lose its strength; Such waxen wings would melt, and let me fall to my former wayes, and that holiness which is born up with such carnal motives is a poor thing; Lord, how am I distra­cted and torn in pieces with these thoughts; Nay Lord, if thou wilt have me go with these burthens on my soul, do whatever seems good in thine eyes; If I may but drudge in thy house, though I lie [Page 193] among the pots, yet to be a Skullion in thy house is better then to sit at the Table of Princes; Lord, I am undone except thou work a mi­racle of mercy; yet if I am undone, it may be, before thou givest me over, and discoverest me to the world, thou wilt let me do something more that I may glorifie thee, and edifie the people, nay, it may be thou maist suffer me as long as I live to do much of which thou maist have glory; Lord, if my heart be not upright, yet O that my actions and my Preachings may be such, that men seeing and hearing them may be stirred up to glorifie thee, by doing those things sincerely, which I it may be do out of hypo­crisie, I am sure too much hypo­crisie; Lord, I have begged for such a heart as may not deceive me, nor dishonour thee; O my God, What shall I doe? Nay, Lord, what wilt thou doe? I [Page 194] am undone, unless thou dost work mightily above all that I can speak or think, according to that mighty power wherewith thou didst raise the Lord from the dead: O that I might be so raised that I might re­turn no more to corruption.

Medit. XLVI.

By this I know and am sensible, It is not for any man to live by his own strength, by my knowing how impossible it is for a sick Man to recover without thee: If a li­ving man cannot speak, how can a condemned man live without thee? If living bones cannot move, how can dry bones live? Lord, thou meetest me not at Duties, thou speakest not to me there; Thou speakest to me in mercies, and I an­swer not; in judgements, and I car­ry my self as a sleepy man that is un­willing to be awaked; What wilt thou do with me Lord, when I will neither speak to thee, nor answer [Page 195] thee when thou speakest! O the weakness of my graces, and the power of thy Mercies! Those sins I have had a mind to commit, thou hast taken from me the oppor­tunity to commit; It is a comfort to me that I had not opportunity, but it would be a greater comfort not to have a mind.

An Instance according to the Rules given for Meditating on the Scripture.
A Meditation on these words.

Isa 66. 2.‘But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a con­trite Spirit, and trembleth at my Word.’

LET us seriously consider, O my Soul, That if an Angel, or God himself from Heaven had spo­ken [Page 166] these words in our hearing, as once Christ did to Paul, when he was going to Damascus, surely I think they would have very much affected us: Is the Word of God less his Word because it is written? I read that the Apostle, 2 Pet. 1. 17, 18, 19. speaking of a voice that he himself heard from Heaven, saith, that he had a more sure word of Prophecy, that is, as I conceive, that he was no less sure that the words of the Prophets were the very words of God, then those that he heard with his ears; Then l [...]t us not be less affected with these words, then if we our selves had heard God hims [...]lf speak them.

2. Nor let us think that they less concern us, then if we had earnestly begged of God to tell us what he would have us to be & do; and as an answer of our prayers we had heard him speak to us from [Page 197] heaven in particular, To this man will I look that is of a poor and con­trite Spirit, and trembleth at my Word: For doubtless God hath not caused his VVord to be Written in vain, at a venture, for whomso­ever should read it, but knew not who they were should read it, but he knew every particular person, to whose hand his VVord should come, and knew his word should come to my hands, and I should read these wery words, and there­fore caused them to be written in particular for my sake, though not exclusively: Christ died for all his people, yet Paul saith, that he loved me, and gave himself for me; and Christ did think particularly of Paul, and so of every one else for whom he died, and gave him­self up as a Sacrifice and Ransome, particularly thinking on, and in­tending every one that should be saved by his Death: If a Minister [Page 198] should go to one that is given to Swearing, and tell him of the hai­nousness of that sin, and lay it home to his Conscience in private, it ge­nerally doth affect him more then to hear the same sin reproved in publick, yet he should as particu­larly apply it then, though he had not in this respect so much reason to apply it, as I have to apply these words to mine own soul; For the Minister doth not, nor can actually and particularly intend every one that is guilty of the sins he reproves (for he knows not eve­ry particular person that is guilty of the sin he reproves) as God doth every one that reads his word; Therefore let us take this and apply it to our selves, as if God had sent these words written with his own hand to us in particular: VVhen it is said that the Scripture is written for our Learning, &c. Rom. 15. 4. [Page 199] I conceive the meaning is not only by way of sufficiency, but by way of intention, efficacy, & decree, in re­sgect of his people, that is, not only that there is a sufficient matter in Scripture to instruct us, but that God did intend and decree that this place of Scripture should instruct every particular one of his people that is instructed by it.

3. And indeed what is the rea­son that I now read these words, and do now intend to Meditate on them? Is it not, or certainly it ought to be, that I should try whether I am such, or whether I have such an heart and Spirit as these words signifie? and if I am not so much as I ought to be, that I should humble my self, and be as truly sensible, and as much affected, and much more, then I am with those bodily in­firmities that lie upon me; and [Page 200] if so be there were a receit given me, which I had a long time sought for, and endeavoured to get, being assured that if I had it, it would cure me; Surely I should not only read it, because I might be able to tell others what would cure such a Disease, or to enable my self to dis­course of that matter, but I should read it with abundance of joy, and unquestionable resolution to take it: Alas, Lord, why do I not read thy Word so also, where the un­questionable remedies of all spiritual diseases are set down? Surely it is my senselesness of the mischiefs of these Spiritual Distempers that makes me so little affected with grief for them, and with joy that I have found out the remedies for them.

4. Blessed God, it is no more in my power to know thee by the strength of mine own abilities, if thou dost not manifest thy self and [Page 201] thy truths unto me, then it is for me to see the Sun without the Sun; therefore Lord do thou take off the Veil that is upon my heart and un­derstanding, and that which is up­on thy Truths. I read in thy Word that my blessed Saviour did rejoyce in Spirit, and give thee thanks, because thou did'st hide thy Truths from those that were wise and prudent, and reveal them unto babies; O that I were of the num­ber of those Babes to whom thou wouldest reveal thy Truths: Lord, give me a powerful, Expe­rimental knowledge of the Truths that are included in these words.

5. And holy and blessed Father, If thou wilt be pleased to let me know thy mind in thy Word, though thy commands should be never so cross to my corruptions, (my base corruptions, which have hindred me from a world of joyes, [Page 202] grace, and Communion with thee, which if it had not been for them I might have had long ago I will do them by the power of thy might; Lord forbid that I should be so wicked as to enquire of thee the Lord, (which I do or should do as often as I read the Scripture) as we read the Jews did desire the Pro­phet Jeremiah, to enquire of thee for them, though they were resolved before-hand what to do; Yet they said, they would do whatever thou shouldest command, whether it were good or evil: O that I had at least a heart to resolve to serve thee; If I must want, let me want riches, health, liberty, rather then grace; Rather let me want strength, then want a will to serve thee; I had as good sin unwillingly, as to do what thou commandest unwilling­ly; Lord, give me truth in the in­ward parts.

[Page 203] 6. Those things that lie plain in these words is, That those that are of a poor and contrite Spirit, that tremble at the Word of God, are highly esteemed of him; So that poverty of Spirit, and Contri­tion of Spirit, and trembling at the Word of God, are the three things that are here so highly com­mended and prized by God.

7. But now let us seriously con­sider whether we are thus qualifi­ed: Am I poor in Spirit? Those that are so, have low thoughts of themselves, and are not troubled that others have low thoughts of them too; They like reproofs bet­ter then praises; They do not murmure under afflictions, but ra­ther wonder they are no more af­flicted. Is it thus with us?

8. Lord, If there be any thing of poverry of Spirit in me, if I take reproofs well, or afflictions [Page 204] in any measure patiently, certain it is, it is not at all from my self: I was born with as proud a heart as any, and certain I am that I did not change mine own heart; Thou takest away the stony heart, we do not give thee it.

9. But alas, Lord, I am far from being poor in spirit in any measure, according to that which thou in thy VVord requirest. My passion, and the boylings of my heart, my loving to be called Rabbi, and to be esteemed by others, and many o­ther distempers and corruptions of that nature, which I have daily to struggle withal, evidently prove the pride of my heart; nay, and the af­flictions that thou laeyst upon me plainly show what the corruption is that thou intendest especially to cure: By the Medicine oft times one may know what the Disease is; and Lord, it is in vain (if there were no other end in it, then to [Page 205] manifest my distempers to thee) for me to confess the secret pride of mine heart, the strange windings, turnings, depths, and the strange and new Monsters of pride and hypocri­sie, that I might daily discover in my self; alass Lord, thou knowest these altogether, and since thou dost so, what cause have I to won­der that thou shouldest shine upon such a dunghil as I am! But Lord, thou only canst cure me of this pride and hypocrisie of heart, for my prayers cannot; nay, though I consider and am convinced of rhe desperate wickedness of mine own heart, the vileness of my nature; the abominations of my life, yet these cannot work without thee, as a plaister though it be never so excellent, laid on the wounds of a dead man, it draws not; it heals not, so are all consideration and convictons to a dead heart.

[Page 206] 2 But alass, what is there in me, whereof I should in any measure pride my self? For others to have good thoughts of me is no very strange thing, for so they had of the Scribes and P [...]aris [...]es; but for one that knows the baseness of his own heart, the cernal grounds, manner, and ends of his actions, and a thousand other distempers and corruptions, for such an one to have high thoughts of himself, is, one would think, impossible. But, as to God nothing is im­possible, that argues power; so to such a heart as every one hath by nature nothing isimpossible, that ar­gues sin; and we have more cause to wonder that we have not com­mitted the sin against the holy Ghost, then that we have done the evils that we have; For certainly, had God but given us up to the strength of our own corruptions, and to Satans subtlety and malice [Page 207] to improve them, we had commit­ted that sin long ago. And alass, what good doth the high esteem of others do us? are we ever a whit the more holy because they think us so? Nay, hath it not proved a means to make us more sinful? God hath abundantly declared his wrath against this sin, by that ven­geance which he hath poured out upon Satan for being guilty of it: how many severe threatnings are there in the word of God against pride? and how many precious pro­mises to those that are humble? The Lord beholds the proud afar off; but to this man will he look that is of a poor and contrite spirit, and trembleth at his word:

3. What are the things that cause thee to pride thy self? Are they thy gifts either of edification or sanctification? Consider that 1. They are very mean; scarce any of thy calling, hath weaker gifts of edification; and no Saint under [Page 208] heaven hath weaker gifts of san­ctification. 2. Suppose thy gifts were great, O what an heavy ac­count must there be for mis-spend­ing such Talents? What way canst thou worse mis-spend them then by priding thy self in them? Do men praise thee? Alass thou mayest go to hell with their praises, for so did the Scribes and Pharisees: Do all men speak well of thee? and dost thou pride thy self and rejoyce in that? Fear and trem­ble at what our Saviour saith, Wo unto you when all men speak well of you, for so did their Fathers of the false Prophets. 3. Consider how unkindly thou dealest with God; thou dost as a woman that should deck her self with the jewels that her husband had given her, but de­spighting his love, gives away those Jewels to those with whom she played the harlot, the more to en­tice them; is not this the act of an imperious whorish woman? as [Page 209] God himself doth phrase it, Ezek. 16. 30. and do but read that Chap­ter, and you shall see whether you have not a bused all the blessings of God more then they did; They spent them in honour to, and in worshipping of Idols; and can one make a baser Idol in the world to fall down and wor­ship it then ones self?

4. Let us consider what are the remedies of this sin.

1. Consider how much hell there is in thy heart, what a base and vile wretched nature thou hast: Consider what the Scripture speaks of men in their natural condition; and be sure the Scripture which was written by the Spirit of God, doth not use to do as those vain men do, who when they praise or dispraise, care not whether their expressions are true or false, so they be high enough; and they rather strive to speak as much as they can, [Page 210] as then much as they ought. Sure­ly whatsoever the Scripture hath spoken is made good to the utmost by those that are in hell, and would by every man on earth, did God withdraw his restraining, san­ctifying grace, and were those sparkes of hell fire that is in every one by nature blown up to a flame, and heightned by those sufferings that are there inflict­ed.

2. Consider how little good and how much corruption there is in our best actions, from what carnal grounds, and for what carnal ends we perform our holy duties; sure­ly there is more sin in our best actions then ever yet we have dis­covered in our greatest abominati­ons: Do but meditate upon those several considerations set down in the meditation of our sins, & it will be a great preservative and remedy against pride. Lastly, Resolve [Page 211] with thy self never (unless the glory of God may be thereby ad­vanced) to speak or do any thing that may cause others to have high thoughts of thee, or at least not to that end; what-ever good duties thou dost, whether of prayer or alms, &c. do them as secret­ly as may be, Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth. Though thou art exceedingly to be humbled for thy sins, because they offend and dishonour God, and scandalize Religion, yet let not this at all trouble thee, that thereby the esteem that men have of thee is much abated: To conclude, pray earnestly as if thou wert to pray for thy life, for it is thy life, that God would humble thee; desire God to afflict thee, or use any means that he would sanctifie to that end; and when thou hast finisht thy Meditation, consider what [Page 122] passage hath most aff [...]cted thee, and keep it in thy thoughts, that by of ten thinking of it thou mai'st be humbled, and made to be of a poor and contrite spirit, that God may delight in thee, and that thou mai'st delight in him Now to the King eternal, the immortal, invi­sible, and only wise God, be ho­nour and glory, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Meditat. I. Of the end for which we were Created

Preparation.

1. BE convinced of and affected with the presence of God.

2. Desire of God to assist thee with his Spirit.

Considerations.

1. Consider, God did not cre­ate thee for any need he had of thèe (for though thou shouldest [Page 213] doe all that he commands thee, thou art an unprofitable servant to him; but thou comest wonderful­ly short of doing what God com­mands) but only to declare and exercise his bounty and goodness to thee, in bestowing upon thee his grace in this life, and his glory in the life to come. But as it is in Deu­teronomy plainly set down, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God w [...]th all thy heart, and all thy strength and all thy mind: and to this end he hath enriched thee with under­standing to know him, Remem­brance to be mindful of him, Will to love him, Imagination to repre­sent his benefits to thy thoughts eyes to behold the wonders of his works, and a tongue to praise him, &c. 1. Thou being fully con­vinced of this, thou wilt plainly see that it evidently follows which is the next thing to consider) that whatsoever is contrary to this end, [Page 214] that hinders thee in or from know­ing, loving, serving, and enjoying of God, must be avoided and abhor­red as the greatest mischief that can befall thee in the whole world. 2. The second thing that plainely follows from this, is, That thou shouldest be little or nothing trou­bled for the loss of any thing, which though thou losest, thou maist not­withstanding serve God; thou mai'st lose thy riches, and yet thou mai'st be holy, therefore thou must not mourn nor grieve for the loss of friends, of health, &c. 3. Nor must thou much desire and endea­vour for those things which no way further thee in this great bu­siness of knowing, serving, and following God, but they are to be accounted superfluous and frivo­lous.

2. Consider the folly and mad­ness of those who live no otherwise then as if they had been created for [Page 215] no other end then to drink, and eat, and sleep, and dance, and game, or to get riches, or such like fooleries. Certainly if these people were asked whether they did in their consciences think that God created them, that they might spend their lives in dancing, &c they could not say, yes; None can imagine, that have any understanding, that at the day of judgement God will ask them why they did not dance more, and game more, and gain more riches.

3. Consider seriously with thy self, whether thou livest suitable to the end of thy Creation; think with thy self, that when that time which thou spendest in eating, drinking, sleeping, recreation, vi­sits, vanities, is taken from thy life, what a small pi [...]tance is left for God, and for the works of thy particular calling nay, thy sleep­ing, eating, drinking, recreation, [Page 216] should all be done some way or other to enable and fit thee the better for the service of God; but alass how seldome is it that thou hast thought of fitting thy self for Gods service by eating, drinking, &c. Nay how many times hast thou made thy self unfit for Gods service by such things? Now be­fore thou goest any further be fully convinced of these truths; and if any scruple should remain (which cannot though a man be but truly rational) argue and pray them away; for though it may be some Objections may be too hard for thy arguments (which not­withstanding seldome comes to pass, since thy consideration must be of truths so plain, evident and obvious, which all grant) yet no scruples will be too hard for thy prayers.

Affections.

1. Be ashamed and confounded within thy self, that thou hast lived so contrary to thine own Princi­ples, and that thou hast minded that little or nothing in doing of it as a thing by the bye, which if now thou dost but seriously think of it, thou plainly seest to be the main business of thy life, saying thus, Alas, O my God, what did I think of when I thought not of thee? What was I mindful of when I forgot thee? Alas, O my Soul, how comes it to pass that we thought of these things no sooner? 'Tis a strange thing that our hearts and the world should so far deceive us, that we should prefer every trifling thing before that which concerns us more then ten thou­sand worlds? we have served the world, which was not made but to serve us.

[Page 218] 1. Abhor thy life past; Well, I am resolved to leave you, ye vain and sinful pleasures, I will no lon­ger dote upon you, you have but too long bewitcht my soul. I might have had a thousand holy thoughts and prayers and Treasures of Alms laid up for Eternity, which I am sure I should not have repented of when I come to die, and you va­nities have took up my time, and stole away my heart and thoughts from these things: Well, I have enough of you, I have done with you, for the rest of my strength and dayes I will give unto my God.

3. Turn thy self to God, and say, Blessed God, wilt thou accept of the service of a poor wretch, that hath spent so much of his time and strength upon base lusts & va­nities? Nay, surely Lord, If thou wilt accept of such a wretch as I am, such a heart, such love, [Page 219] such service as I have, I will give to thee; and for the time to come, thou shalt be the very joy of my Soul, and the deliciousness of my thoughts, and dost thou indeed entreat and importune me to be reconciled, how wonderful is thy Mercy, that notwithstanding I provok't thee hitherto daily to thy face, yet that thou shouldest fol­low after me to embrace me! whereas what could be expected but that thou shouldest pursue me to destroy me?

Resolutions.

Well, by the blessing of God, I am resolved, that though heretofore I have spent whole dayes in such and such like recreations, which at best are but vanities, for this moneth I will either not use such and such recreations at all, or at least spend no more time any day in them, then I do in Prayer and Meditation, and I hope one day the [Page 220] Lord will work in me such a hea­venly frame of Spirit, that Prayer and Meditation shall be in stead of a thousand recreations; David was of that temper, for he saith, that he will go to God his exceed­ing joy, and that the Law of God was dearer to him then thousands of Gold and Silver, and that his heart was ready to break for the very desires and longings that he had after God; O my Soul, that will be a rare time when it shall be thus with us; Why should David love [...]od more then we? [...]e for­gave David much, but he hath forgiven us more, w [...]ll O my soul, if thou wilt pray hard, and fol­low hard after God, thou little knowest what he will doe for thee, and the joyes that he hath laid up for them that love him, even in this world are unspeakable and glorious.

Conclusion.

1. Pray: Lord, thou knowest the deceitfulness of my heart, the strength of my corruptions, and the multitude of Snares and Tem­ptations which encompass me on every side, especially when I am in worldly employments in compa­ny, thou knowest how subject holy flames are to go out, there­fore be thou pleased by the holy breathings of thy Spirit to keep these holy fervours of love from being quench't; 'Tis not the strength of my resolutions, that can enable me to resist temptati­ons; if I am not kept by the migh­ty power of thee my God, I am lost.

2. Praise God, blessed be thou, O God, for an heavenly Motion or Desire that hath been wrought in me, thou might'st have suffered me as thou dost thousands (I have provoked thee as much as they) [Page] never to be convinced of, or affe­cted with these Truths. 'tis thy wonderful Mercy that thou didst make me for such a blessed end as the enjoyment of thy self; and much greater Mercy, that thou hast let me know so much, but most of all that thou hast given me a heart to desire and endeavour after it, Bless the Lord, O my Soul!

3. Acknowledge thy failings, alas, Lord, whatsoever is wrought in me that's good, had been far greater, but that I am green wood to the sparks of thy love; Lord, pardon the iniquity of my holy services; My highest and most in­flamed thoughts of thee are un­worthy of thee: It is well that I have thee to love, whom I need not fear loving too much.

After the Meditation is ended.

1. Think with thy self which of these Truths, or what passage of this Meditation did most warm thy [Page 223] heart and affect thee, and fix it, and treasure it up in thy thoughts, keeping it (as it were a Nosegay in thy hand to smell unto all the day.

2. Set down this that thou hast resolved to spend no more time in such a Recreation, then thou shalt spend in Prayer and Meditation.

3. Go unwillingly from this du­ty, and do not rush into worldly businesses, but look to thy heart which is a slippery deceitful thing.

Meditat. II. Of the Mercies of God.

1. BE convinced of, and affect­ed with the presence of God.

2. Pray, beg of God that he would put such considerations and thoughts into thy heart, that thou maist be so convinced of, and af­fected with his goodness, that [Page 224] thou maï'st love, praise, and serve him.

Considerations.

1. Consider how much thou art engaged to God for bodily Mercies, he hath given thee thy senses, sight, hearing, and other parts of thy body; It thou did'st want thy sight, what woulst thou give for it if thou wast Emperour of the world? How many thou­sand pound; wouldst thou give? A Diamond is not therefore worth no more then 6 d because a poor man can give no more: if thou shouldst reckon up what thy hands, feet, health, liberty were worth, to what a vast Sum would they arise? Thou hast all these things from God, thou hast not them from thy Parents, they know not before thou wert born whether thou shouldest be Male a Female, thou ma [...]'st say to God, as David did, In thy Book were all my mem­bers written.

[Page 225] 2. Consider what faculties of Soul God hath given thee; What a miserable condition are mad men in, those that are born Natural Fools; Thou art well, and thou­sands are sick, thou hast plenty when thousands beg their bread.

3. Consider what spirituality of Mercies God hath given thee, how many thousand poor ignorant Heathens are there which never heard of God and of Christ, who were born and bread where the Gospel is not preached, but wor­ship the Devil, but thou dwellest in the Sunshine, and under the droppings of the Gospel, and are not these great Mercies and unva­luable? If thou dost not value them, it argues so much the great­er goodness in God to bestow them upon thee; nay, hath not God made thee to know him; he hath not only given thee the light of the Gospel, but eyes to behold it.

[Page 226] 4. Consider the greatness of God; why should he look after thee, nay, why doth he not de­stroy thee? Thou art but a Worm, nay, a Viper: why doth he let thee hang upon his hand of Providence, and not shake thee off into Hell fire? As we walk we do not step out of our way, to avoid crushing a Worm to death: If we see an Adder, or such a venomous Crea­ture, we go out of out way to destroy it; God hath not dealt so with thee, but when thou hast run from God, he hath called after thee▪ and would not suffer thee to perish though thou wouldest; and when thou hast come against him with thy sins, and thy rebellions, he hath stood with stretched out arms to imbrace thee, Are not these Miracles of Mercy, O my Soul? how many mercies dost thou receive from God, even at that very time when thou sinnest against him?

[Page 227] 5. Consider the innumerable multitude, the infinite greatness of his Mercies, and the wonderful love wherewithall he bestows them: How precious are thy thoughts toward me, O God (saith David,) I am sure thou had just cause to say also, O my Soul. The Mercies that God hath be­stowed are, wonderful, but those that he hath promised, are far greater: What manner of love hath the Father bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God! Now we are the Sons of God, and it doth not appear what we shall be; That he should make us his Sons is very much; but that he should not spare his own Son, that he might spare us, is beyond all admiration.

Affections.

Admire the goodness of God; Lord, what is man? what is sin­ful man, that thou shouldest so re­gard him? What am I that am the [Page 228] worst of men? Why art thou so good to me that have been, and am so bad? When I was in my blood to the loathing of my person thou said'st unto me in my blood, Live; nay, not only when I was welter­ing in my own Blood, but in the Blood of Christ, thou said'st unto me, Live; What did I ever do to deserve those Mercies? or what have I, or can I do to require them? As thy glorious Name, so thy Metcies are extolled above all praises.

2 Admire thine own ingratitude; Have I so requited my God, O my Soul, as to return rebellious for m [...] Mercies! Hath God heaped upon me, many glowings coals of love & mercy, and is my heart still [...]o­zen? Must God on y be a looser by his blessings? If m [...]n (who is bound to do me good when i [...] lies in his power) [...]e [...]o vs a small co [...]r­tesie on me, how do I thank [Page 209] him whensoever I meet him? but though God (who is no way engaged, of his free grace bestows thousands of thousands of blessings, how do I live in the midst of them, without ever regarding of them? Nay, my ingratitude is such, that I make God a looser by his mer­cies: If thou, Lord, hadst made me to beg my bread I should have been more thankful for one dayes food then I am now for a years; Are his Mercies less because they are continued? Alas, O my Soul, how foolish are we? We do even daily provoke God to take away his blessings, because we will not pr [...]ze them while we have them; and th [...] there is another thing wherein we do wonderfully ill, if God doth but lay any affliction up [...] us, and take away but one mercy, in stead of being thank­ful we have enjoyed it so [...]ong, and that he hath not taken [Page 230] away all, we murmure and repine, and rob him of all the praise that is due for the rest of the Mercies we enjoy. Alas, what doth God require of us for all his Mercies but this, that we should love him with all our Heart, Soul, and strength?

3. Stir up thy heart to Praise and thansgiving; Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy Name; Forget not all his Benefits, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and ten­der mercies: Not love God, not not praise God, O my Soul! why what could God require less at thy hands then these? I have heard of one that being delivered out of a great and long desertion, had much ado to stay within doors and not run into the streets and stay every [Page 231] one she met, that she might tell them what God had done for her soul: How do the Angels love and praise God to all Eternity? and why should the Angels love and praise God more then I? He never forgave them one sin, he hath for­given me thousands: 'tis true they are in glory, so shall I be too if I be not unthankful for the mercies I have received.

Resolutions.

I am resolved for the time to come to sing Psalms the oftner, I have not enough delighted in that duty: 'Tis strange that that which is the happiness of heaven, I should find so little delight in: well, for this next Moneth I will spend one hour a week in meditating upon the Mercies and Love of God; His Mercies are enough, and great e­nough surely to take up so much time; for in heaven Eternity is little enough to admire them.

Conclusion.

1. Pray, desire God that he would by his Spirit blow these Co [...]ls of Mercies, that he may en­flame thy heart with love and joy, and prase of him; alas otherwise the judgements of God will not af­fect us, nor the Mercies of God en­flame us; 'tis the Spirit that quickneth, else Mercies will not profit.

2. Praise God, Call upon thy Soul again, and again, aw [...]ken thy heart, let it not be so drowsie at a work of so great importance.

3. Acknowledge, that were thy heart ought, thy [...]outh and thy heart would be filled with the praises of God, acknowledge that is no w [...]nt of m [...]tt [...]r, and Motives of praise in the Truths which thou hast considered, but thy heart is so dead that nothing almost will work upon it

After the Meditation is ended [Page 233] think with thy self what Truths did most affect thee, &c.

2. Write down thy resolution, &c.

3. Go unwilingly from this Duty.

Meditat. III. Of Sin.

1. BE convinced of, and affect­ed with the presence of God.

2 Desire God to assist thee in this Meditation.

Considerations.

1. Consider seriously how much God abhors Sin, and how odious it is to him, this you may see both by what God hath said, and what God hath done to shew the abhor­rence of it.

2. Sinners, it is said, that God loatheth them, and they loathe God, Zec. 11. 8. and God by his [Page 234] Prophet cryeth out, saying, O do not this abominable thing which I hate; How often doth God pro­sess his hatred of Sin? if one should spit in a mans face, or lay Toads or Serpents in his bosome, or whatsoever you could imagine, it could not be so abominable to him, as Sin is to God, he hates it more then we hate hel, how can we know any ones hatred of any thing, but by his expressions and his acti­ons? suppose you should see one take some curious, costly, or rare Dish of Meat which he loved above any thing in the world, and because there was some small crum of another meat which he had an antipathy against, he should fling all with violence and detestation away, were not this enough to sa­tisfie you that he abhorred that meat, a crum whereof made him abhor that which he so much lo­ved? Suppose you should see one [Page 235] take a Watch, whose wheels and all the rest were cut out of intire Dia­monds and spying some little small and almost undiscernable Spider in it, should fling it to the ground with so much violence that he should break it all to pie­ces, it would evidently argue how much he detested a Spider: What excellent Creatures are Angels, and yet because a Sin though but of thought was found in them, how doth it cast them like light­ning into Hell! Suppose further, thou shouldest see the meekest, wi­sest man, & lovingest Father in the world, taking his Son, and scour­ging of him with rod after rod, until that he were all of gore blood from head to foot, and though he cried out and begged of his Father to spare, yet he would not spare him, but scourged him to death: Would you not say that the Son had done somewhat that the [Page 236] Father did wonderfully abhor? Hath not God dealt thus with Christ? Did he not chastise him until he shed blood from the Crown of the head to the sole of the feet? Did not Christ die under his correcting hand; did not Christ cry out again and again Fa­ther, if it be possible let this cup pass from me? And did he not love Christ more then any Father lo­ved his Son, and all this because Christ was guilty of Sin, though but as a surety; these things are not inventions of wit or rhetorick, but real Truths; If the dostroying of Sodom, Gomorrha, Jerusalem, Angels and the most part of A­dams posterity and the whole world, save eight persons; If the Sufferings of Christ be not enough to satisfie thee of Gods hatred of sin, then thou maist go on to thy own destruction: but know this, that it will be bitterness at the last.

[Page 237] 2. Consider what thou dost when thou sinnest, every sinner doth vir­tually put Heaven and Christ, and God, and his favour and loving­kindness, and all his promises in one scale, and that pleasure, profit, or honour, which sin promiseth, with a wouded conscience, the torments of hell, the wrath of God in the other scale, and doubtless virtually a sinner chooseth sin with all these mischiefs, before the service of God with all his mercies. It is as if a sinner should say, ra­ther then I wil [...] not satisfie my base lust; I will part with God, with Christ, with heaven and all; I will suffer his wrath, let God do his worst I will have my will; E­very obstinate sinner doth in his heart say thus, and though now thou [...] imaginest it. yet at the day of judgment this will be made manifest to thee as i [...] it were writ with a beam of the Sun; things [Page 236] that now seem less consequent, shall then be made evident: A wicked wretch that sees one of Gods people hungry, naked, im­prisoned, and doth not releive him he little thinks, that is all one, as if he had seen Christ so, and not re­lieved him; but at the day of judgment Christ will make it ma­nifest unto him.

3. Consider how often thou hast sinned against God, every uncon­verted man doth nothing else; his plowing is an abomination, All his imaginations are only evil and that continually: Nay, though thou art one of Gods people, yet David cries out, that his sins are more in number than the hairs on his head, and dost thou think thy sins are fewer then Davids? how many years hast thou lived? how many dayes, hours, minutes? thy sins are more; The Hour-Glass that runs hath not so many sands in it as the sins that [Page 237] thou committest in that hour; If thou dost not beleive this, consi­der, that there is not one of thy thoughts, words, actions, but is polluted with abundance of sins; If thou sayest (Our Father) since thou dost not speak it with that reverence, attention, fervency, faith, love, joy, confidence, admiration of his goodness, and many other which we are engaged to have, when we call God by the Name of Fa­ther, thou becomest guilty of all the contrary sins, and many more that are not named, in speak­ing that one word in thy prayer not as thou oughtest. Fear not making thy sins seem greater or more then then they are.

4. Consider further for what trifling vanity, nay for what base things that thou wilt be ashamed to own before men, thou hast lost God, lost thine own soul, if thou returnest not, and hast [Page 240] brought on thy self more miseries than the tongue of man can express, or the heart of man concieve: the [...]e is nothing thou [...]st with thy eyes, or hearest with thy eares, or f [...]lest with thy hands, is more certainly true than this. But alass, b [...]ause thou h [...]st he [...]rd i [...] so [...]ft [...]n, and, God or his [...]fin [...]te goodness and patience hath no [...] made thee yet to feel the stroak of his justice, and the misery due to sin; thou wilt not be­lieve [...], though his threa [...]nings be never so clearly for down, and with much earnestness.

5. Consider, against what pre­cious mercies, what sweet love, what blessed experience, holy in­spirations, what abundance of means, strong resolutions [...] promises, clear light, &c. [...]hou hast [...]inned.

Affections.

1. Pray to God to help to a fur­ther sense of the sinfulnesse of sin.

[Page 241] Blessed God, must all these con­siderations pass as a Serpent on a stone without making any impres­sion upon my soul? Lord give me an affecting knowledge of the sin­fulness of sin, and not have such slight thoughts of sinne as I have had; but grant that I may e­steem of Sinne as thou esteemest it.

2. Talk with thine own Soul a­bout this matter. O my Soul, are these considerations true or false? If thou thinkest them false, bring thy objection, shew wherein the errour lies, which thou canst ne­ver do; but if they be true (as certainly they are) how comes it to pass that we have made no­thing of sin? 'tis vain for us to put off the sence of our sins until it be too late.

3. Be confounded and ashamed in the presence of God; Alas, O Lord my God, as a thief is asha­med [Page 242] when he is taken, or as a wo­man is ashamed when her adulte­ries are found out by her loving husband; so, & a thousand times more I desire to be confounded and a­shamed in thy presence, when I consider, how abominable my life hath been; and how that I have committed my abominations even in thy sight, and provok't thee to thy face; and had not thy patience and mercy been infinite, thou could'st never have stood out against so many provocations: I had been in hell roaring and blas­pherning long before this day; and then I had been past prayers, and past mercies, and past pardon. What shall I say unto thee, O thou preserver of men? to excuse my sins I cannot, I have nothing but the multitude of thy tender com­passions, and thy free grace in Je­sus Christ to flie unto; Lord lay my sins home to me to humble [Page 243] me, and to break my stony heart, but lay them not to my charge to condemn me. If thou had'st not in thy word promised forgiveness to Sinners through Jesus Christ, I could no more hope to obtain pardon, then ever the Devils them­selves.

Resolutions.

It is enough, O my soul, and too too much, that we have been un­doing our selves, and provoking God thus long; That we have as it were with all our power pulled down the vengeance of God upon us, and as it were kindling his wrath against us, but he hath not suffered his whole Displeasure to arise, nor suffered us to perish though we would; blessed be his Name that we have not commit­ted the Sinne against the Holy Ghost; which we certainly had done, had he given us up to the strength of our own corruptions, [Page 244] and to the power and malice of Satan to improve them to our de­struction. Is it true indeed that God saith, Yet return, and I will save thee; doth he stand with stretched out arms? doth he indeed stand with stretched out arms to imbrace us? is it possible he should be so gracious to forgive such and so many sins, and of such long continuance? well, blessed be God, we will go unto him, and never of­fend him more. We will hereafter whensoever we are tempted unto sinne, say, what▪ sinne against such love, such mercy, such experiences? offend that God that hath pardon­ed us? that hath done such things for us, and is not content with that, but hath promised to doe more? I will not hereafter stand parlying with Temptations; but I will cry out unto God, and say, Lord help me, for I suffer vio­lence, and in particular, I am in [Page 245] some measure sensible that I pray not with that servency and reve­rénce as I ought to do; for the time to come, I shall (by the blessing of God) mend that: I am too passionate, well, since God hath been so gracious, as to forgive so many, so great, so grie­vous sins, that mine own heart is not able to understand their vileness or number; I will not hereafter be troubled when I hear my neighbour, or underling, or when I hear my fellow N. use such or such taunting words a­gainst me; I will not be provoked by this or that despight or con­temptuous trick, that he or she doth use against me, but rather I will endeavour to say or do such a thing, to gain his good will, and to pacifie his anger conceived against me; for certainly his injuries are not comparable to my sinnes; and yet God forgives me them: there [Page 246] is a difference between I. N. and me, I am resolved I will go to him, and be reconciled this very day, or if I cannot, I will pray for him, and speak well of him this very day, if I have occasion to speak of him at all: howsoever I will pray for him now.

Conclusion.

1. Pray; desire God that he would increase thy Detestation of sin, and that thou mightest as well hate Sin, as leave Sin, and that he would not let any Spark that hath been kindled by his own Spirit go out in thee: Say un­to him; Lord, I doe not beg Riches, I can go to heaven with­out them, please thee without them; but I beg of thee Grace, and strength against corruptions, pardon of sins, if thou deniest me these, I am undone.

[Page 247] 2. Praise God: Blessed be thy Name that my heart hath been in any measure affected with the ha­tred of sin, that I have in any mea­sure known and considered the things that belong to my peace; thou might'st have suffered me to drop into hell, and never to have thought of it before I had been there, but thou hast not dealt so with me.

3. Acknowledge thine one un­worthiness of so great patience as God hath exercised towards thee; thine inability to think any of those good thoughts that thou hast had, &c. as in the first Meditati­on.

After all, think what passages most affected thee.

2. Write down thy resolutions, &c.

3. Go unwillingly from the Du­ty.

Meditat. IV. Of Death.

1. BE convinced of, and affected with the presence of God.

2. Pray for his assistance.

Considerations.

1. Canst thou not remember that thou wert by such an one when he died? didst thou not see how his countenance failed, his eye-strings broke, how he grew weaker and weaker, at last grew speechless; how he throtled in the throat how his teeth grated, how he sweated and strugled for life, and at last gaspt and died: con­sider that thus thou must do like­wise, how soon the Lord only knows; that thou art well now is nothing; that thou art young and strong now, is nothing; for how many are there that have been strong, and well, and as young as thou, within a very few dayes after have been in their Grave. [Page 249] That thou must die is certain, when, where, how, none knows but he that made thee: only this is true, that generally men die sooner then they expect.

2. Consider that there will be an end of the World as to thee; thou must leave Riches, Friends, Wife, Children, Houses, Lands, and thine one body also. Thy friends may stand weeping by, but they cannot prolong thy life one mi­nute.

3. Consider that when thou comest to die, it will certainly not repent thee that thou hast spent so much time in prayer, so much in meditation, so much in holy du­ties, it was never known since the world began, that any one did then say, O that I had prayed less; though these holy Duties now seem irksome and troublesome to thee, doubtless then they shall bring more comfort to thee, then all those Riches and Vanities in [Page 250] which thou hast spent so much time, and took so much delight in. These things are certain and in­fallible, our understandings cannot (O that our lives did not) deny them.

Consider how that the dearest friends thou hast in the world, will hasten thy filthy carkass out of the doors; they will scarce dare to stay with it alone, but say as Abraham did, Let me bury my dead out of my sight: and then how seldom will they think or speak of thee; or if they do, what good will it do thee?

5. Consider, alas, poor man, whether will thy soul go then, to hell or to heaven: dost thou know to which? dost thou not think thou shalt go that way which thou hast gone all thy life long? if thou hast walk't in the wayes of hell, how canst thou imagine that at the end of that journey thou should'st ar­rive at heaven?

6. Consider, what good will all [Page 251] thy wealth, all thy pleasures, all thy vanities do thee at that day? they will all vanish as doth the morning dew. Alas, who knows not all these things, and yet not one of a thousand consider and lay them to heart; and to know these Truths, & live unsuitably to them, doth but add to our folly & mad­ness: O that they were wise, saith God, that they would consider their latter end. These serious consi­derations of our death, and prepa­rations for it, is one of the chiefest points of wisdom in the world.

7. Consider if thou miscarry in this great work of concernment, viz. thy death, thou art undone for ever. If thou mightest live a­gain, and mend that errour which thou committedst in thy dying ill, then there were some hope, but it is appointed for all men once to die, and but once.

Affections.

1. Abhor Sin; It is you, and [Page 252] you only that can make that hour miserable unto me; Alas, O my Soul, though we now have slight thoughts of such and such Sinnes, through the deceitfulness of Sa­tau and our own hearts, yet at that hour if we had a thousand worlds, we would give them all, for that which we have so little regarded while we live, viz. that we had kept a strict Communion with God, and watch over our own hearts.

2. Despise the World; O ye vanities and fooleries of the world, why should I spend my time and strength in following after you? what have ye done for me, or what can you do? when I shall stand most in need of comfort, you will not only prove vanities, but vexa­tion of Spirit: Solomon hath tried you, and he hath from his own experience, and from the teach­ings of the Spirit, hath told me, that you are but vanity; and all [Page 253] men when they come to die, set their Seal to this Truth: Shall I to mine own destruction yield to your enticements? why should I not have the same opinion of you now, as I certainly shall have when I come to die?

3. Humble thy self before God, and cast thy self into his arms of love; beg wisdom of him; every night I am a day nearer my Grave then in the morning; I am nearer to it; but Lord make me fitter for my Grave, and when that hour shall come, let it not come as a Thief in the night to rob me of my comforts; and rather then that hour should not be an happy hour, let my whole life be nothing but affliction and misery; Alas, Lord, if thou deniest me this Petition, what wilt thou give me? Thou hast said, O that they were wise, that they would consider their latter end; and I said, Lord, teach me so to num­ber my dayes, that I may apply my heart unto wisdom.

Resolutions.

O my Soul, since things are thus, let us not resist known Truths: shall we neglect these Truths because they are plain? if they are abstruce, then we doubt them; If they are plain, shall we despise them? Dost thou not know how soon thou shalt die, then what have we to doe that must be done before we die, do it with all thy might, for the night comes, wherein no man works: My children are not yet sufficient­ly instructed in the wayes of God; I will set apart half an hour in a day to instruct them for this moneth, or give so much to the poor every time I miss: there is such a neighbour or acquaintance who goes on in wicked wayes, and my words have so much power with him, that I am confident if I do earnestly beg of God to bless me in the work, and take him private­ly, and lay before him his danger, [Page 255] and press him to holiness, he may be wrought upon; I have omit­ted it hitherto, but I am resolved sometime within a week to take some opportunity to speak seri­ously and home unto him, or give so much to the poor; and so every week give so much to the poor, until I have spoke with him, &c. And since it so much concerns me to be prepared for Death, I will every day make it one special clause of my prayer, to beg of God that he would fit me for that hour, and I will lay up a Treasury in heaven by giving to the poor, and make my self friends of this unrighteous Mammon, that when I fail, they may receive me into their habita­tions.

Conclusion.

1. Pray; Beg of God that he would increase in thee strong Spi­ritual apprehensions of Death, and that the thoughts of Death might [Page 256] imbitter every unlawful pleasure to thee; Say unto God, Lord, how few dayes are between me and eternity, whether of horrour or of glory, I am not yet fully satis­fied; It is a sad thing, that a thing of so great concernment I should be uncertain of: O blessed God, let this Meditation so work upon me, that I may not cease to pray unto thee, and to examine my self, and use all holy means for the making of my Calling and Electi­on sure; For very shortly I shall be past praying, past examining; for when thou shalt summon me out of this life, then I must come to judgement; therefore those resolu­tions that I have made of walking more strictly, give me grace to perform them to the utmost.

2. Praise God, blessed be thy Name, O God: for any inward motions of thy Spirit, that thou hast afforded me, and for any &c.

[Page 257] 3. Acknowledge thy weakness, &c. blessed God, if my heart were not so base, so hard, so vile, that it alwayes hindereth me either in holy Duties, or from holy Duties; it were not possible but that such serious Truths, such powerful, spiritual, practical truths, should have wrought so mightily upon me, that I should never from this very hour be deceived any more with the vanities of the world, but should have set my self, and made it my business to prepare for that great day, &c.

After all, 1. Think what passa­ges most affected thee.

2. Write down thy resolutions, &c.

3. Go unwillingly from the du­ty.

Meditat. V. Of the Day of Judgement.

1. BE convinced of, and affected with the presence of God.

[Page 258] 2. Beg of God that he would enable thee seriously to think of, firmly to believe, and strongly to be affected with the Truths con­cerning the day of Judgement:

Considerations.

1. Consider how Dreadful and Terrible that day will be when the Sea shall roar, when the very powers of heaven shall be shaken, when Christ shall come with thou­sands of his Angels in flaming fire: When an Angel came down from Heaven to rowl away the stone, the Souldiers that watched there became as dead men; nay, the ho­liest men that have liv'd, have been exceedingly afraid at things of far less Terrour then those things are which will be at the day of Judgement; For Moses him­self did exceedingly fear and trem­ble, when he heard and saw the ter­rible signs that were at the gi­ving of the Law: and the blessed Apostle, Hebr. 12. 21. became as [Page 259] a dead man, when he saw Christ not in a flaming fire, as he shall ap­pear at the day of Judgement, Rev. 1. 17.

2. Consider, that at the day of Judgement Sin will appear out of measure sinful, for then it will ap­pear with all its aggravations, for the Majesty, Holiness, and Mer­cies of God will appear in their perfect glory; Men shall then know what it is to sinne against God; our ignorance of God now makes us senseless of the sinful­ness of Sin, but when God shall appear like himself, how shall those sins that men now make light of, make them run mad with de­spair.

3. Consider, O my Soul, that those excuses that now quiet thee, will not serve at that day, nay, thou wilt be ashamed to own them.

4. Consider how strict an ac­count God will require of thee [Page 260] at that day, if only thy grosser a­bominations that are odious in the sight of all men, should be brought to judgement; but the smallest sin that ever thou committest, eve­ry idle word and every vam thought, the very Grounds, Man­ner, and Ends of thy most holy performances shall then appear more dreadfully sinful, then now the most crying sin that ever thou committest doth.

5. Consider that every one o thy thoughts, words, and actions, whether good or evil, shall be brought to judgement, even thy most secret and unknown Sins to thy self, or others. Consider O my Soul, what shame and confu­sion will cover thee at that day; dost thou not remember what at such and such a time thou didst in secret: Suppose all those Sins that ever thou committest in private, should be known to all in England, or should be writ on [Page 261] thy forehead, that all that saw thee might read them: wouldest thou not be ashamed to come into any company? but what is this [...]o that which shall be at that day, when all thy secret Sins shall be published before all Men, Angels, and God himself; these are not inventions of men to terrifie thee, but truths of God to reform thee.

6. Consider how fully and [...]rly thou shalt be convinced that day of thy Sins, those with whom thou hast committed them will witness against thee, thy dear­st friends that thou had'st in the world, must and will testifie against thee, nay, Satan, that tempted thee to those sins, and God that or bad thee those Sinnes nay, [...]ine own conscience (which [...]hen will as perfectly remember [...]very Sin, with its aggravating circumstances, as if it were but [...]hen committed) will be a swift [Page 262] witness against thee; this will be that worm that dies not; a clamo­rous and a wounded Conscience are insupportable even in this life; but neither are the clamours so loud, nor the wounds so deep and pestilent as they will be.

7. Consider the dreadful Sen­tence of Condemnation that God will pass upon the wicked, viz. Go ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his an­gels; Wicked men know not now what it is to depart from God▪ but then they shall know; for God, before Men and Angels, in fury poured out, to bid them be gone, and call them cursed wret­ches, who knows the horrour o [...] it? If the wrath of a King be as th [...] roaring of a Lion, what will th [...] wrath of God be? Consider fur­ther, that word is Everlasti [...] Fire and Eternity; How dread [...] art thou further to have such mi­serable companions as Devils; [Page 263] the Devil should appear to thee when thou art alone, how could'st thou bear it?

8. Consider the sweet Sentence that shall pass from the gracious mouth of Christ to his people, viz. Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world: and how sweet will those words be, when in the mid'st of all their fears and troubles, the righ­teous shall hear the Sentence of absolution: What abundance of comfort have the people of God, when God manifesteth and gives them his loves even in this life, and seals them to the day of Redemp­tion, and lets them see their names written in the Book of Life, giving them full assurance that he is theirs, and they are his; but alas, all those joyes may not be compa­red to these: the testimony of our own conscience, and the witnes­sing of the Spirit, the manifesta­tions [Page 264] of his love, and the smiles of his countenance are not so clear, so full, so lasting, as they shall then be, no more to be compared to them, then the light of the Sun is to that of a spark of fire: For Christ to call us blessed, is more then for all the world, and for all the angels in heaven to call us so: doubtless it did exceedingly affect Daniel, when the Angel told him that he was greatly beloved, Dan. 9. 23. If thou had'st a thousand worlds, O my soul, wouldest thou not give all for this, that God would say so to thee; Well, if thou wilt be watchful over thy wayes, live holily, love, and believe in Christ, and repent, the day will shortly come, when Christ shall say that, and much more.

Affections and Resolutions.

1. Tremble, O my soul, when thou thinkest of these things; Why art not thou exceedingly affected with the thought of them? hast [Page 265] thou such a full assurance, or is thy life such, that thou needest not fear; Was not Moses and John as holy as thou? Was not John the be­loved Disciple, and Moses one with whom God spake face to face, and yet they trembled: O my soul, it is much to be feared, that it is Ignorance and infidelity, not a Gospel-assurance that makes thee so senceless; nay, it is infallibly certain, that whosoever lives wick­edly, and trembles not at the thought of judgement, it proceeds from a conscience feared with a hot Iron.

2. Admire and be astonisht at the miserable condition of all those that live without God in the World, such are all they that repent not, and believe not the Gospel.

3. Examine and try thy self, O my soul, Let us judge our selves that we be not judged; We may easily know what Questions shall [Page 266] be put to us that day, we must be judged by the Word of God, then let us judge our selves by it now; do we indeed strive to enter in at the strait gate; May that which we do in the service of God be truly called striving or no? Can a faint prayer be called striving, or no? when every Temptation at the first assault overcomes thee, and thou fightest not a stroake; Is this striving? Is this to fight a good fight? and resisting unto blood? Do we think that God at the day of Judgement will avouch this striving? nay, can your own Conscience think it so now? Be not deceived, God is not mocked.

4. Pray, O blessed God, thou that art the great and just Judge of all men, be pleased to fit and prepare me for that, that that day may not come a [...] a thief in the night, as to rob me of all my Comforts, deal with me how it seemes good in thy eyes, afflict me, cha­stise [Page 267] me, only let me be saved in the day of the Lord.

5. O my Soul, Let us truly con­sider what we are to do, and how we are to live, that when others at that day shall call to the Hills and to the Mountains to fall upon them, and to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb; we may lift up our heads, because our Salvation draweth near: Well, O my Soul, I read in the Word of God, that the neglecting to judge our selves, and the judgeing of others, are two Sins that will cause all those to be judged and condemned that live in them, therefore I am re­solved by the gracious assistance of the Spirit of God for the time to come, never to censure or judge any one, as I have done; and fre­quently to examine my self, and as frequently and severely to judge my self as formerly I have used to Censure and judge others, and to use as much Lenity, [Page 268] mildness in judging and censu­ring others, as ever I did in censu­ring my own wayes, and if I doe speak ill of any one I will, if I remember it when I am before the Throne of Grace, not only beg pardon of my Sin in rash judging, but as much as in me lies, make him some restitution by putting up as many prayers for him as I have spoke evil things of him: and let us further resolve of my soul, and by thy blessed assistance, O God, I am resolved, and do pro­mise before thee for the time to come, frequently, and I beseech thee that I may alwayes do it be­fore I do or speak any thing, con­sider whether I dare own that a­ction or that word at the day of Judgement, and if I dare not own it, I will not dare to do or speak it; and when at any time I think of omitting of any Holy Duty, and think that such or such an excuse will serve, I will bring it befor [...] [Page 269] the Judgment Seat of God by seri­ously considering with my self whether in my Conscience I think that God will take that for a suf­ficient excuse at that great day: For the Conclusion of this Exer­cise I refer you to the Conclusions of the former Meditations, for I am loath this Manual should swell too much.

Meditat. VI. Of Hell.

BE convinced of, and affected with the presence of God.

Considerations.

1 Consider, O my soul the great­ness of these Torments; certainly if God so heavily afflicts his own people as he did Job, Heman, and divers of his people who have been in disertion many years: How sad are the expressions of David, he saith, he roar'd for the disquietness of his Soul: And how many sad Expressions had Job, [Page 270] that he had not time to swallow his spittle, and how that he chose ra­ther a strangling then life, and many other exceeding sad expres­sions, which could never have pro­ceeded from an holy man, who is set before us as a pattern of pati­ence, if his afflictions had not been very great: And Heman said, that the terrours of the Lord were so great, that he was almost distracted with them: and so from his youth up until that time that he writ that Psalm. Psal. 88. If this be done to the green tree, what shall be done to the dry? And if God chastise his people with such Rods, what Scorpions shall the Damned be Scourged with? and if the righ­teous have been thus afflicted, tossed with Tempests, and not com­forted, where shall the wicked and ungodly appear? what shall the portion of their cup be? even the dregs of the vials of Gods wrath, for upon the wicked he shall rain [Page 271] snares, fire and brimstone, and a hor­rible tempest.

2. Consider what the sufferings of Christ were; if we do truly and seriously consider how much those words signifie, when our Saviour saith, My soul is heavy to the death, we shall be helped to understand what our Saviours sor­rows were. If the wisest, holiest and patientest man in the World, who was not oppressed or distem­pered at all by reason of any bo­dily distemper of Mclancholly, I say, if such a man should come to an intimate bosome friend, and with a sad countenance should fell him that he was even ready to die because of the abundance of grief and sadness that lay upon his Spi­rit, would not this argue that his sorrows were exceeding great? especially when his friend never heard him to complain in all his life, though the injuries and suf­ferings had been very great all [Page 272] along: If he should further say unto his friend, I beseech you to watch with me; surely it would argue an heart overwhelmed with grief. Now I say, for a Saviour to say so to his Disciple, and after­ward to sweat blood; O what un­known sorrows did our Saviour feel! How then is it possible for the wicked to escape, when God spared not his own Son though he was but a surety; and those sor­rows that made him groan, will crush thee to pieces; Woe be to that man that is to satisfie the Ju­stice of God in his own person.

3. Consider, O my Soul, the sad aggravating concomitants of these Torments; every Member and faculty both of Body and soul shall be tormented: here if our head akes, may be our heart doth not ake; if we have the Stone, we have not the Gout, or if both them, yet not some other Tortu­ring disease; or if the whole body [Page 273] be tortured, yet one may possess his Soul in patience; but to have a tortured body, and a wounded conscience, who can bear it; be­sides all this, none can help, none will pity those that are in hell; nay, what is the height of misery, that way God himself shall in the mid'st of all their roarings and tor­tures, laugh at their calamity when it comes, as desolaion, and as a whirlwind upon them.

4 Consider seriously what E­ternity means; for ever, ever, ever, to be tormented, is an over­whelming consideration: To lie under the torture of the Stone but one night, how tedious is it; but to be tormented to all eternity, O it is the Hell of Hells.

Affections and Resolutions.

Be aostnished, and tremble at the wrath of the Lord: Alas, O my Soul, why dost thou not tremble as Felix did, when thou considerest these things, why art not thou [Page 274] more sensible of the power of his wrath? do not the Foundations of the Earth tremble, and the pillars of Heaven shake when he is an­gry; and how comes it to pass, that thou art so little affected with these things? hast thou full assu­rance of the favour of God? when was it sealed? sureley the very possibility that these things should come upon us, should very much affect us.

2. Pray: O blessed God, thou that hast the keyes of Death and of Hell, take pity of me; and though I neither understand, nor am sen­sible in any considerable measure, either of the the Misery of Hell, or of my own danger in falling into them; Lord, how thou knowest both, let the bowels of thy com­passion earn towards me, and ne­ver suffer me to fall into that de­vouring fire, and into those ever­lasting burnings: blessed be thy Name that I am on this side of [Page 275] Hell, if thou hadst cast me into that place of Torment, as I have daily provoked thee to do, I had been past hopes, past prayers, past mer­cies, past repentance; I beseech the [...], O Lord, that thou wilt cha­sten me, that I may not be con­demned with the world.

3. Despise and abhor the sin­ful vanities and pleasures of the world: O vain world, there is no­thing in thee but sin and misery, temptations, vanity and vexation of Spirit, and are thy vain profits and pleasures so much to be va­lued, as for them to dwell in de­vouring fire? and are the plea­sures of Sin that are but for a sea­son, to much worth, that for them we should dwell in everla­sting burnings? have we not had frequent experiences, that the sor­rows we have had for commit­ting of Sin, have far exceeded the pleasures that we have had in committing of it, and surely the [Page 276] terrors of an awakened conscience, are not to be compared with the horrors of the damned, and other insupportable and endless miseries of that place of torment.

Come, O my Soul, let us not de­ceive and flatter our selves with vain and false hopes of the mercies of God: It is true, God is very merciful to them that fear him, and we may be sure of this, that if we do sincerely desire and endea­vour to serve him, that we shall find his mercies as much above our thoughts and expectations of them, as the heavens are above the earth; but if we slight them, and are careless of his service, and turn his grace into wantonness, let us not deceive our selves with vain words, for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience: and those that live so, shall surely find, that at that day the mercies of God will not serve at all to mitigate, [Page 277] but abundantly to Justifie the wrath and fury of God, that he shall pour out upon the wicked: then they shall pay for every Mercy they have received, and the riches of his despised goodness shall but increase the Treasures of his wrath: therefore, O my Soul, since these things are so, what are we to do? why do we not fear him that can cast both body and soul into hell? The Prophet Habaccue, when he did but think but of some tem­poral Judgements that God had threatned, rottenness entred into his bones. If indeed the love of God did constrain us, so that we did from a principle of love make conscience of Sin, so that we ne­ver offend God, it were well; but since we plainly find that it is not strong enough alone, let us not fear to call in and improve the consideration of the Torments of Hell to defer us from Sin; the Mo­tive is imperfect, but not Sinful; [Page 278] our great work we have to do in the world, next to the glory of God, is to avoid hell, and obtain heaven, and to resist our now three great enemies, the World the Flesh, and the Devil, who endeavour day and night, to drive us headlong into Perdition If any one in the World, much more if the Devil should appear to us, and offer us such a sum of money if we would give him our Souls that we might be dam'd, we think we should ab­hor him and his offer; but alas, doth not every one that useth by extortion and violence either get­teth or keepeth what is not his, do the same thing? his damnation is as certain and as infallible, though more secretly and invi­sibly contrived by Satan, as if Satan should visibly appear to him and he make a contract with him: therefore, O my Soul, let us take heed of the wiles of Satan, for he generally works by the [Page 279] world, and the flesh to deceive us, therefore let us now resolve by the blessing of God to look upon the world and the flesh, to be as dan­gerous and implacable enemies as Satan himself, let us not endeavour to please the World by vain Discourses, by omitting what God commands, or doing what he for­bids: Let us not be troubled, but rather rejoyce; when we are re­viled and scorned for righteousness sake; For the time to come, when I am to do any Religious Duty, I will not so much as consider what men will judge or say of me, nor endeavour to make the world my Friend, since God himself hath set enmity between us, and as for the flesh, I am sure we are no debtors unto that, we have paid it far more then ever we owed it, therefore for the time to come, I will rather abstain from lawful, then use unlawful pleasures, and I will take heed not only of those [Page 280] pleasures that are unlawful in kind, but those also that are un­lawful in degree: and that I may better avoid unlawful pleasures, I will sometimes abstain from those that are lawful; and having seriously considered, I am con­vinc'd of this, that I have not made conscience enough in the matter of sleep, I have not redeemed the time from that, nor have enough considered the Sinfulness of it, but like the Sluggard that Solomon speaks of, have turned upon my bed as a door upon the hinges, there­fore henceforth I shall endeavour to get as much time from sleep, as the health and strength of my bo­dy will permit: and bcause I am confident that if the damned were in their natures changed, and were to live again on earth, they would think it a blessed change, to change their howlings into singing of Psalms, and their roarings into Prayers, nay if they were to live [Page 281] Methuselahs age upon the rack: Therefore whensoever I am at any time tempted to be weary of this labour of love that is to be un­dertaken in the hardest duties of Religion, I will endeavour to shame my self out of that temptation, by thinking thus with my self, that Hell is so much worse then we can suffer in this world, either in Gods service, or for Gods service; that it were not only a desperate wickedness but madness, for the avoiding of the one, to fall into the other. For the conclusion of this Meditation, observe the Directions and Instances of former Meditati­ons.

Meditat. VII. Of Heaven.

1. BE convinced of, and affected with the presence of God.

2. Pray to God to assist and en­able thee in the work.

Considerations.

1. Consider, O my soul the wonderful greatness and incom­prehensibleness of those joyes. For, 1. Consider what great things God hath given to wicked men in this work, what vast dominions, power, wisdom, learning, Majesty, and indeed as to the things of the world, as much as their hearts can desire; if God gives such things to Doggs and Swine, what may we think are the dainties of that ban­quet which God feasts his children withal.

2. Behold the Earth and the Heavens in the height of the beauty of the Spring, and in the strengh of the glory of the Sun, how delightful a sight is it to be­hold the works of Gods Creation here below, the commonness of this sight much abates the delight and wonder of it; but doubtless if a man that were born blind should when he had attained to the [Page 283] full perfection of his age and un­derstanding, be placed in a Paradise as Adam was, and should see as soon as his eyes were opened, the earth adorned with all manner of curious Flowers and Trees laden with all manner of Fruits, and Sun shining in its full strength, how wonderfully delightful would such a fight be? and if the foot stool of God be so rich, how glorious is his throne.

3. Consider the wondeful ma­nifestations and joyes that God hath bestowed upon his people in this life, they are unspeakable and glorious: Some have cried out, Lord, either with-hold thy comforts, or enlarge the Vessel, for I am not able to bear my joys. We read of Daniel, that the Ma­nifestations that God gave him, drunk up his Spirit, and made him sick some dayes after, Dan. 8. 27. Such joyes have been so great, that they have sweetned the bit­terest [Page 284] persecutions; they have made them clap their hands for joy in the mid'st of flames, and cry out in the ravishment of their spi­rits, O ye Papists, you talk of mi­racles, but here is a miracle, I am in the midst of these flames, as in a bed of Roses But alas, what are the joyes that God communicates to his people in this life, they are but as the drop of the bucket to the whole Ocean: the Apostle tells us, that it doth not appear what w [...] shall be. We would give it we had it a thousand worlds, one would give all to enjoy these spiritual san­ctifying ravishments of spirit one day; If these then are so sweet, what are those things that thou hast laid up for them that love thee!

4. Consider that God hath prepared these joyes, on pur­pose to glorifie his goodness, and power, and wisdom, in prepa­ring joyes for his people worthy [Page 285] of his magnificence and love; he doth it for that end, that he may be glorified and admired in all his Saints; and what cannot infinite power and wisdom, and what will not infinite Love and Goodness do, when they set themselves to prepare an entertainment, and to bestow a reward that may set forth their greatness? what do Kings do in such cases? that which is accounted a Feast amongst poor people, is a rich mans fast. If the strength of this consideration were drawn forth, it would won­derfully affect us.

2. Consider wherein these joys consist for the negative part of them: There will be no sickness, no pain no death no temporal mi­sery or imperfection; nay, there shall be no Sin, no Temptations nor corruptions, no Desertions, no imperfections of Graces, or Duties, or Comforts What would a poor [...] from this [Page 286] body of Sin and Death, there we shall see God clearly, fully, ever­lastingly; there our enjoyments shall be incomprehensible, our u­nion wonderful and inseparable, and all shall be eternal. What a world of difference is there be­twixt a dead Carcass, and the same body when he liv'd? when it is dead, it is sensless, ga [...]ly, filthy: how beautiful, how active, how many rare endowments had [...] when it liv'd? and all these pr [...] ­ceeded from the union of the so [...] with it; and if the soul which but a poor creature by its union, doth communicate such rare things to the body, what do we imagin will be communicated both to the body and the soul, when God shall be more neerly united to them, then they are one to an­other; when they shall be made more capable of receiving, and God will be more abundant in communicating:

Affections and Resolutions.

1. Admire the love and good­ness of God, O blessed God, from the beginning of the World, men have not perceived by the hearing of the ear, nor have they seen with their eyes, nor have any understood, save only thou, O God, what thou hast prepared for them that love thee; how hast thou commended thy love to us, that we are thy Sons, but it doth not yet appear what we shall be; O the length, and breadth, and h [...]igth, and depth of thy love that cannot he known; Lord, what are our duties, or what are our per­sons, that thou shouldest so highly reward them and us; our best righteousness is as filthy rags, and for us we are worms, nay, a gene­ration of Vipers; Is it not enough that thou dost not shake us off from thine hand of providence into Hell fi [...]e, but that thou shouldest lay such Vipers in thy bosome, and [Page 288] warm us with thy love; Is it not enough for thee to forgive us our rebellions, but that thou shouldest give us such blessings: were it not a miracle of bounty and goodness, for thee to bid us seriously to con­sult and think what to ask of thee, and thou wouldest give it us, though it were to the half of thy Kingdom, but that thou shouldest set thy wisdom on work in prepa­ring and thy liberality in bestow­ing such incomprehensible reward that we could neither ask no think, but as far as the heaven is above the earth, so are thy thoughts of love above our thoughts; For thee to give thy Kingdom, thy Christ, thy self, these are acts of goodness, that are infinitely above us, yet worthy of thee, that delightest to magnifie thy goodness, that rejoycest over thy people, as the Bridegroom rejoyceth over his Bride.

[Page 289] Despise the World, What are the things of this World, O my Soul, what is there here to be de­sired but Sin and Misery, Snares and Temptations, Vanity of va­nities, and vexation of Spirit; one hours communion with God, and the joyes of the holy Ghost, that he hath given to his people in this world, are worth more then the world can know of; Why do we spend our strength and money for that which is not bread, and our labours for that which doth not satisfie: O vain world, God hath out bidden thee, thou offerest trifles, he offers me Heaven for my love and service, though my love be unworthy, too little for him, yet it is too much, too good for thee.

3. Long for, and breathe after Heaven; As the Hartpanteth after the Water-books, so panteth my Soul after thee, O God; My Soul thirsteth for God, for the living [Page 290] God, when shall I come and appear before God? when shall I be deli­vered from my absence from thee, and from mine ignorance of thee; Make hast, O my beloved, and be thou like a Roe, or a young Hart upon the Mountains of Spices: The Spirit sath Come, and the Bride saith Come, and the Bridegroom sath, Surely I Come quickly, e­ven so come Lord Jesus, come quickly.

4. Encourage, and stir up thy felt to the love and service of God; Come O my Soul, Let us be steadfast and unmovable, alwayes abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as we know that our labour is not in vain in the Lord; Let us not be weary of well do­ing, nor of the labour of love, for we shall reap if we faint not? We have known, and in some measure endeavoured to serve God thus many years, were it [Page 291] not a sad thing for the want of continuing one year, one month, it may be but one week, or one day more, I should lose all my hopes and expectations of glory: God forbid; O my Soul, Let us encourage our selves in the Lord, we are not kept by our own, but by the mighty power of God through Faith to Salvation, and be thou assured of this, that the first minute thou art in Heaven, thou shalt have such full measure, pre'st down, heapt up, and running over, that thou shalt break forth in the Songs of joy and praise to all Eternity, maynifying, admiring and adoring God, that ever he gave thee leave, and grace to serve him, then shalt thou see, and so thy ex­perience shall make thee confess with joy and wonder, that the light afflictions and labours of love that thou endurest in this life, are not worthy to be compared to [Page 292] the joyes that shall be revealed in thee,; VVhen at any time thou beginnest to be weary, look to the price of thine high calling, and when thou comest to heaven, thou shalt admire, when thou seest how abundantly thou art over recom­pensed, and thou wilt have just cause to say, Lord, what is this that thou hast done for me, alas, what were the things that I either did, or suffered in thy service, what were my filthy rags that thou shouldest give me such a Robe and Crown of Glory; O my Soul, what if we do weep, now the time is at hand when God will wipe all tears from our eyes.

O my son, these things cannot be believed and slighted, and un­derstood and neglected; If thou dost not believe them, what is the reason? Are they too glorious things for God to bestow upon such wretched sinners? why dost [Page 293] thou set bounds to the goodness of God, and say, Hitherto thou shalt go, and no further, nay, doubt­less since God hath said, that he will do that which shall glorifie his goodness to his people, the in­credibility of it makes it more cre­dible, but if thou art convinced of the truth, why art thou not af­fected with the Excellencies of these Joyes? dost thou not relish them? well, For the time to come I will meditate more of these things, I will by giving to the poor, lay up my Treasures in Hea­ven, I will part with such and such vain delights for it, I will spend more time and communion with God in praising, admiring and adoring of him, that if it be pos­sible, by frequent performing of these Duties, I may at last taste and relish the incomprehensible sweetness of them, that I may be enamoured more of heaven, and [Page 294] because all my endeavours are in vain, if the Lord reveals not these things unto me, therefore I will beg of God that he will dis­cover the riches o [...] his goodness to me, I have not been careful enough, nor sensible enough of Sins of Omission, when I have had no just thing to take up [...]y thoughts, yet I have not thought of thee; henceforth when my heart is affected with thy Excellen­cies, thy love, thy mercies, I will praise thee, when it is not, I will pray to thee that it may, and for my Master-sin, mine iniquity, I will be most frequent in those duties that are most contrary to it; I will especially in my reading of Scrip­ture, take notice of, and write down those places, and those ex­amples that are most proper for the cure; I will speak against my iniquity, that if it may be I may thereby the more engage my self to leave it.

Meditat. VII. Of the Excellencies of Christ.

1. BE convinced of, and affected with the prefence of God.

2. Desire of him who only can to manifest the Excellency of Christ unto thee.

Considerations.

1. Consider, that if the holiest man that ever lived, lived near thee, what high expectations wouldest thou have of his carriage and conference, when thou sawest his zeal and patience, &c. But no man lived ever without Sinne; Therefore suppose an Angel should take upon him humane Nature, and live amongst us, with what enflamed expressions and af­fections would he speak of God, of Heaven, and every thing that is Spiritual; But alas, his carriage, his holiness, his wisdom, where as [Page 296] nothing in comparison of Christs; For there was not any word, or action that eyer Christ spoke, or did, that if all the Angels of hea­ven had studied and set down how it ought to have been done, or they themselves should have been to have done it, they could not have equalled it, nay, even God the Father had he taken our Na­ture, he would not have spoke or done any word or thin̄g which should have had (in respect of it self, or any circumstance) more holiness or wisdom then Christs words and actions had so that cer­tainly in this respect, he that saw Christ, saw the Father, as he him­self saith.

2. Consider the wonderful wis­dom of Christ, Certainly he was greater then Solomon; For though he was the humblest man that ever lived, yet he himself said so, nor did it any more argue pride in [Page 297] Christ to say that he was wiser then Solomon, then it would have argued in Solomon that he knew more then a New-born Babe. VVhen his most malicious and cunning Adversaries came to e [...] ­snare him in his words, so that they thought it were impossible for him to say, I or No to their Questions, without extraordinary prejudice to himself, yet he An­swered with such admirable wis­dom and innocence, that they went away ashamed of their Folly, Nay, when Satan himself came and set upon him with his subtilest Temptations that he could possibly find out, yet our Saviour with­out Deliberation and Study, im­mediately answered him so fully, that he could not so much as re­ply, but was fain to fly to ano­ther Temptation; and no marvel, for he was the Wisdom of the Fa­ther.

[Page 298] 3. Consider the wondeful and exceeding holiness of Christ, when he was in the height of all his A­gonies and Sufferings, he abated not any thing of his Love and con­fidence in God; For his Suffer­ings did not make him forget, or diminish any thing, no, not in the least circumstance of his Graces, or of any thing that the Law requi­red at his hands: To be so freely willing [...] that Agony con­tinue, which was unspeakable and as the Torments of h [...]ll ( [...]f his Fa­ther pleased) was more then if those in hell should freely submit to endure the Torments they suf­fer. The holiness of those in hea­ven is not comparably so much greater then the weakest Saint on earth: As the holiness of Christ was greater whilest he lived on earth, then that of those in hea­ven; Nay all the Saints on Earth are fil'd from his fulness; For he [Page 299] is the Fountain that conveyes to his Saints, as they are able to re­ceive the infinite Ocean of the ho­liness of the God-head; No mar­vel that the Angels when they saw his glory, cryed out, Holy, Ho­ly, Lord God of Sabbaths.

4. Consider, that not withstand­ing all these infinite Excellencies in Christ, he thought it no robbery to be equal to the Father; yet how exceedingly did he humble himself, and how gracious was he: The poorest man or woman in the Word, nay, the greatest Sinner that truly repented, with what love did he receive them: He was the Son of Righteousness, from whom the Angels receive their Glory, and yet he disdains not to shine upon such Dunghills as we are: It is strange, O my soul, to consider how willing Christ was to please every one; only provided it was in things that were not for their hurt that de­sired [Page 300] them; Many times, nay, most times, when others were with him, when he in respect of himself, only would have done o­therwise, yet he did as their de­sires required, Rom. 15. 3. The A­postle saith, even Christ pleased not himself, many times when he was hungry; If any came to him that needed Instruction, or if he were sleepy, and any came to him that needed Consolation, he would abstain from Meat and Sleep that he might do them good; it is not so with great men, but it was so with Christ, who was the great God.

Affections and Resolutions.

1. Admire the Excellencies of Christ; O blessed Saviour, Thou art the chiefest of ten thousand; Thou art altogether lovely, Thou hast a Name above all Names, That at thy Name every knee should [Page 231] bow; Thou Lord, art set at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly places; Far above all Principality & Power, and Might, and Dominion, and every Name that is named, not only in this World, but also in that which is to come; Thou art the brightness of thy Fathers Glory, and the ex­press Image of his Person; Con­sider, O my Soul, what can these words mean; Surely if God com­manded all the Angel to worship him, when he brought him into the VVorld, how much more should we for whom he hath done, much more admire and adore him in Spirit and in Truth.

Be confounded and ashamed, that thou art no more affected with these things: Doubtless, O my Soul, It is not for want of excellency in Christ, for he is the Lord of Glory, but for want of a clearer Faith in thee to behold [Page 302] his Excellencies; If the Scripture had not spoke the thousandth part of Christ as it doth, how could thy thoughts have been lower of him then they are; how could thy heart be more senceless: It is a shame that every vanity should steal away our hearts from Christ, much more abominable is it that our very sins that murthered him, should ever prevail with us in the least.

Pray, Blessed God, 'tis not in man by all his wisdom and indu­stry, to know, or be affected with the Excellencies of Christ, if thou dost not reveal them; If I had a thousand worlds, they were too small a price for so great a Mercy; O shew me thy self, and thy Son, and it sufficeth; And now, O my Soul, are the Excellencies of Christ nothing unto us? Do we indeed ad­mire them? Surely all is but meer words, and vain thoughts, if we [Page 303] do not strive as far as we may to imitate him in those Excellencies, for which we pretend to admire him; Are we as patient as he was, Meck, Humble, Holy, who when he was reviled, reviled not again, &c. We do but deceive our own souls in giving Glorious Titles, and speaking high things of Christ, and in the mean while not endeavour to transform into his Image; It is impossible we should love him for his patience and ho­liness, and not love patience and holiness, nor yet never care to practise and get them; Therefore for the time to come, the Life of Christ shall be the Example whereby I shall endeavour to frame mine: And that I may the better do so, I will read over espe­cially the New Testament, and observe in every particular what Christ did, how he spoke to his friends, to his enemies, how he [Page 304] demeaned himself in every action, whether civil or natural, or Reli­gious, how in all his Relations: And when I have written them down, I shall often peruse them, and shall endeavour in every acti­on that I do, and word that I speak, to remember if I can, wh [...] ­ther there be any parallel instance in the life of Christ, if there be, I shall make that my pattern, and do likewise, but if there be none, that I can think of, then I would do that which in my conscience I think Christ would have done in like case.

For the Conclusion, I refer you to the Directions and Instances of former Meditations.

The Conclusion of the whole.

I Found a great deal of difficulty in Writing this small Treatise of Meditation, not into the Do­ctrinal or Directory Part, because Christian experience and study are things by which that party is ma­naged, but in the setting down of instances and examples therein I found the difficulty to lie: For Meditation is an harder work then to give directions thereunto: and I have generally found it easier to study a day, then to Meditate an hour; but of all the kinds of Meditation whereof Instances are set down in this Book, I found the greatest difficulty in those of So­lemn Meditations, they consisting [Page] for the most part of Prayer, which the devout Soul when it hath en­ded forgets so that if one might gain a world, when the heart is overwhelmed with Grief, or in­flamed with Love, or ravished with Joy, one could not re­member the powrings out of the Soul: In such cases, one may say of such Meditations, as Saint Paul speaks of those Glorious things which he saw when he was wrapt into the third Heavens: they are neither lawful, nor possible to be uttered, many times the secrets in our communion with God, are of that nature, that it is not law­ful by reason of that scandal, nor possible to utter, because the af­fections being so intensly employ'd Invention, Memory, and intelle­ctual actings of the Soul, during that time do almost quite cease, and indeed whosoever goes about to invent Instances of Meditation, [Page] if it be only a Learned Man, and not holy, his Studies may exceed his Actings that way, but if it be an holy experienced Christian, as his inward thoughts of Love, Joy, Grief, and admirings of God are above all that his Tongue doth or can utter, so those secret ex­pressions which he useth between God and his own Soul, when his thoughts are full of heaven, and of God, are much beyond what he can invent, or by study expres­seth; Therefore since those Me­ditations that are fullest of Devo­tion cannot be remembred, to set down Instances of Meditations, except one should take them from some Saint as he was powring out his soul before God in secret; one can never set them fully down in secret I say; For the Soul is never so free, nor may be before others, as with God alone, and the truth is, if I had not had these Instances [Page] of Solemn Meditation by me, I think I should hardly have set down any of that kind; I should only have referred him to the Psalms, It was so that I wrote these from the mouth of one to whom these unseen, I was oft­times so near that I could hear his secretest Devotions, if utter­ed though but with an ordinary voice; I am very confident for his part, he thought that none but God and his own Soul were privy to his Prayers, I have some­times considered it as a case of Conscience, whether it was law­ful by stealth to hear, and after­wards to publish the private Me­ditations of others, but consider­ing how much advantage it may bring to others, and how the par­ty himself can suffer nothing in it, his Name being concealed by me, I resove to publish them, besides. I very well know (as I said be­fore) [Page] that the Spiritual expressi­ons between God and ones own Soul in secret, are forgotten al­most as soon as ended; It is very unlikely that any should remem­ber then ten years after, as the most of these are: I thought good to give an account of this matter, lest I should be thought to have that holy frame of heart, which many of the expressions in these Meditations argues, that he had that used them, and arrogate to my self that which is farre from me.

If any shall be offended at the brevity and shortnesse of my Di­rections of this great and weigh­ty businesse of Meditation, I shall onely say thus much as to that.

1. That I am not willing to overcharge or affright New Be­ginners [Page] (for, for such I do very much intend this Treatise) with too great a Number of Parti­culars.

2. I would not have this swell above the bigness of a Manual, for I have often observed, that when one hath perswaded some to buy some Book, and told them it hath been but a small price, it hath been almost as strong a Mo­tive (the smallness of the price) as the goodness of the Book: and I would not be willing that both these Motives should be wanting to the buying of this Book.

As for the plainnesse of the S [...]ile or Matter, I shall thus ex­cuse it, if it ought to be excused, I wrote this for the meanest and ignorantest sort of Christians that they might buy, and understand it, that they might buy it, I have [Page] made it a Manaul, that they might understand it, I have made it plain, and spoke to them in their own Language; and to the Learn­ed I say, if any such shall read this Treatise, Indocti rapiunt coe­lum, and though I highly prize Learning, yet I know that as to Prayer and Meditation, and all other acts of Devotion, wherein we keep a strict Communion with God, and watch over our own Souls, and experimental knowledge and acquaintance with, and in­flamed affections towards God, will more avail us then all the Learning in the VVorld, and doubtless it is not generally Igno­rance in those that live under Ordinances, but the Non-improve­ment of the Truths we know, that will undo us, if we do but im­prove these plain Truths, viz that God is, that there will be a Day of Judgement, that we must die, [Page] that we ought to love God with all our Heart, with all our Soul, with all our Mind, with all our Strength, that we should do as we would be done to I say, if we did but improve these into pra­ctice, we should attain to more holiness, then if we knew a thou­sand times more, and left those Truths (as generally men do) by them, as things forgotten, I doe very much think that the Truths of Religion have been spun into too fine a Thred of late dayes, and some have observed, that fewer have been converted of late years then formerly, when fun­damentals have been Plainly, Powerfully, and Practically prest upon the Conscience, it is an Er­rour to think that Notions, so they be Spiritual, cannot be two accute or Speculative; I have one thing to entreat of the Christian Reader, and it was one end of publing­ing [Page] this Treatise that I might with it publish th [...]se my desires. The thing that I am to request of you, will neither be charge nor trouble; It is your frequent, serious, ser­vent Prayers that I desire of you; I know it is used too much as a Complement among Christians, to desire prayers of their Christian friends, and they are too often Superficially promised, and too seldom conscienciously performed: Nor would I have thee, whosoever thou art that fearest God, account this my Request a thing of course, and that it is at thy Liber­ty to grant it or no; for suppose a poor Distressed Man overwhel­med, & almost swallowed up with the sense of his Miseries and wants, should with Tears and strong im­portunities beg relief of thee; Dost thou think it were an Arbi­trary thing (when it was in thy power) to relieve him or not? [Page] Mightest thou not justly expect that the next time thou wentest to pour out thy Soul before God, that he should keep by him the denial that thou gavest that poor man, and give it thee, when thou in the distressed thoughts of thy heart, makest thy prayer to him? and dost thou think that the Lord will hold thee guiltless, when one whose afflictions are many, Corruptions strong, Temp­tations to undergo, shall in the anguish and bitterness of his Spirit desire thy prayers, and thou refuse, or neglect: Consider whether at the day of Judgment thou wilt have any sufficient excuse to plead. I have sometimes thought that the Bills that have publickly been put up for the prayers of the Congre­gation have been too little regard­ed, it may be they have been too customarily and formally put up, it may be [...]o, but it is not good for [Page] us to be Judges of evil thoughts, little do we know what Terrours and Fears, and Anguishes of Spirit overwhelm them, while they are so little regarded by us; O that we were sensible of others afflicti­ons and sorrows, whether spiritual or Temporal, as they themselves are, and as we would have them to be of ours, were our Souls in their Souls stead: And if the Lord should so by his providence order it as to bring us into those straits which we saw our brother in, and would not afford him so much as our Prayers, may we not justly expect that the next time that we our selves are in streights, our con­sciences should take up a Parable and Taunting Proverb against us, and say as Josephs brethren did, we are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he be­sought us, and we would not hear, [Page] therefore is all this distress come upon us. And that which I would desire thee to beg of God for me is, That he would give me sincere­ly to aim at his Glory in all my actions, but especially those that belong to my Ministry, that I might not be as a broken vessel, and that he would give me great­er Discoveries of, and love to him­self and the Lord Jesus Christ; and that he would give me gifts, and strength, and wisdom, oppor­tunity, and a heart to serve him, and mercies suitable to my wants, that my afflictions may be sancti­fied, my Temptations conquer­ed, and my Corruptions morti­fied.

One thing more I am to request of thee, that is, to do what I know is too much neglected by my self, and I fear by others; Thou art to pray for a blessing upon thy self when thou readest this Treatise, [Page] and that God would make it a blessing unto others also, into whose hands it shall come: I de­sire you that you would help me with your prayers in this particular; When we do but take our ordina­ry daily bread, we crave a blessing, how much more when we doe things that concern our eternal good? When we take a Book, to that end, Spiritually to benefit by it, do we think that it is in our own power, or in the power of any Treatise that we read, (without Gods assistance) to do us good? Nay, the Word of God it self is but a dead Letter, if the holy Spirit be absent when we hear or read it. But that thou shouldest desire a blessing upon thy self in reading of this book, is not all I request of thee, but that thou wouldest also ex­tend thy Prayers further, even for others, that it may be also for their [Page] edification whosoever shall read it; For as we are to pray that e­very Sermon we hear may be for the Spiritual advantage of others, as well as of our selves; It holds also in reading of Treatises of De­votion.

FINIS;

Books to be sold by Thomas Park­hurst, at the Bible and three Crowns in Cheapside near Mer­cers Chappel.

A Commentary on the Hebrews, By John Owen D. D. Fol. An Exposition of Temptation, on Mat. 4 verse 1. to the end of the eleventh, by Dr. Tho Tay­lor, fol.

A practical Exposition on the the third Chapter of the first E­pisile of St. Paul to the Corinthi­ans, with the Godly Mans Choice, on Psal. 4. vers. 6, 7, 8. By Anthony Burgess, fol.

The view of the holy Scriptures, by Hugh Broughton, fol.

Christianographia o [...], a Descrip­tion of the multitude, and sundry [Page] sorts of Christians in the World, not subject to the Pope, by Eph. Pagit.

These six Treatises next follow­ing, are written by Mr. George Swinnock.

1. The Christian Mans Calling, or, a Treatise of making Religion ones business, in Religious Duties, Natural Actions, his Particular Vocation, his Family Directions, and his own Recreation; The first, part.

2. Likewise a second part, where­in Christians are directed to per­form their Duties, as Husbands and Wives, Parents and Children, Masters and Servants, in the con­ditions of Prosperity and Adver­sity.

3. The third and last part of the Christian Mans Calling, where­in the Christian is directed how to [Page] make Religion his business, in his dealings with all Men, in the choice of his Companions, in his carriage in good and bad company, in solitariness, on a week day from morning to night; in visiting the sick on a dying bed.

4. The Door of Salvation open­ed, by the Key of Regenerati­on.

5. Heaven and Hell Epitomised: And the True Christian Characte­rized.

6. The Fading of the Flesh, and the flourishing of Faith: Or, One cast for Eternity, with the only way to throw it well: All these by George Swinnock 4 to.

An Exposition on the five first Chapters of Ezekiel, with use­ful Observations thereupon, by Will. Greenhill, 4 to.

The Gospel Covenant, or the Covenant of Grace opened: Preached in New England, by Peter Bulkely. 4 to:

[Page] An Antidote against Quakerisin, by Stephen Scandret.

Gods holy Mind touching Mat­ters Moral, which himself utter­ed in ten words, or ten Command­ments; Also an Exposition on the Lords Prayer, by Edward Elton, B. D. 410.

Fiery Jesuite, or an Historical Collection of the rise, Increase, Do­ctrines, and Deeds of the Jesuites. Exposed to the view for the sake of London. 410.

Horologiographia Optica; Dial­ling Universal, and Particular, Speculative and Practical; toge­ther with the Description of the Court of Arts, by a new Method, by Silvanus Morgan. 410.

Heart-Treasure. Or, a Trea­tise tending to fill and furnish the head and heart of every Christian, with soul-inriching Treasury of Truths, Graces, Experiences and Comforts. Octavo 1 part.

[Page] Sure Mercies of David: being the second part of Heart-Treasure.

Closet Prayer. A Christians Du­ty; all three by Oliver Heywood.

A Practical Discourse of prayer, by Tho Cobbet.

Of Quenching the Spirit, the e­vil of it in respect both of its cau­ses and effects, discovered, by Theo­philus Polwheile.

The Re-building of London encouraged and improved in seve­ral Meditations, by Samuel Rolles.

The sure way to Salvation: Or, a Treatise of the Saints Mystical Union with Christ.

Antidote against Infection of a multitude; these two by Rowland Stedman, M A.

The greatest Loss, upon Matth. 16. 26. by James Lives [...]y, Octa­vo.

A. defence against the fear of Death; by Zach. Crofton.

[Page] Gods Soveraignty displayed; by Will. Geering.

The Godly Mans Ark: or, City of Refuge in the day of his distress, in five Sermons; with Mris. Moors Evidences for Heaven, by Edm. Calamy.

The Almost Christian discovered: or the false Professor tryed and cast; by Mr. Mead.

Spiritual Wisdom improved a­gainst Temptations. By Mr. Mead.

1. Heaven taken by Storm.

2. The Holy Eucharist: or The Sacrament of the Lords Supper, briefly opened. These two by Mr: Tho. Watson.

Nonconformity without Contra­vercy, by Ben. Baxter.

The Parable of the great Sup­per. By John Crump, late of Maid­stone.

FINIS.

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